He brings it every game. "He was just Pat tonight".
Though the NBA Playoffs began Saturday afternoon with four games already being played, the NBA left the best potential series for last with the Rockets vs. Thunder being the final game to take place over this weekend. The Thunder will need to do what they did to stay close with the Rockets during the regular season, which is mainly hit the basics - pester the Rockets on the perimeter, bully them on the inside, slow down and frustrate Harden, and keep everyone (including and especially Harden) off the line. "Westbrook has scored at least 40 points in eight triple-doubles this season". Harden, who along with Westbrook is a front-runner for MVP, went to the bench after that and both teams cleared their benches soon after that. Draymond Green was everywhere, finishing with 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five blocked shots and three steals for the Warriors. "We just try to show him a lot of bodies, try to make it as tough as possible on him". Victor Oladipo made 1-of-12 shots in his playoff debut.
Overall, Westbrook used 35 possessions to score 22 points. He immediately bounced back few minutes later with a 3-pointer putting the Rockets at a comfortable lead of 73-62.
He scored 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, was plus-18 in the box score and provided outstanding defense against Westbrook.
When you add it all up, Beverley outplayed the Thunder's MVP candidate, Russell Westbrook. Sometimes, playing small against them is good.
It was more of the same in the frontcourt, as Steven Adams and Taj Gibson had just six and five points, respectively, and were dominated on the boards. "That's where he really did a great job".
It just wasn't the Thunder's night in terms of shooting from two of their biggest stars.More news: South Africa not to nationalize banks assures Finance Ministry
Harden made a pair of free throws to cap the third quarter and leave Houston up 89-74 entering the fourth. "I think it's fantastic", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said of the Harden-Westbrook matchup.
The Houston Rockets (55-27) lives in a high-octane offense being led by Harden. It was a stunning effort on the boards by the Rockets, considering the Thunder led the National Basketball Association in rebounding during the regular season with 1,002 offensive rebounds. It didn't happen. He finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Everything seemed to go right for the Rockets in their playoff debut.
3-Point Goals-Chicago 8-25 (Portis 3-4, Butler 3-5, Wade 1-2, Grant 1-4, Zipser 0-2, Rondo 0-3, Mirotic 0-5), Boston 14-38 (Bradley 4-10, Smart 3-7, Thomas 3-7, Brown 1-1, Horford 1-2, Olynyk 1-4, Crowder 1-5, Johnson 0-1, Green 0-1).
In a unusual twist of regular season fates, the Thunder struggled on the rebounding front, ceding an outrageous 31-4 advantage in second chance points to their higher-seeded rivals.
"The guy was just absolutely killing it", Watt said. "We just have to go back to the drawing board and figure it out before Game 2".