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Harden has 37 points, Rockets rout Thunder, Westbrook 118-87

18 April 2017

Rockets: Capela missed a few minutes in the second quarter to receive three stitches in his lip. It was a surprising way for the Rockets, who led the National Basketball Association in 3-point shooting this season, to win a playoff opener.

As a result, Westbrook finished the teams' playoff opener with a wildly inefficient night, scoring 22 points on 6-of-23 shooting and turning the ball over nine times to go with 11 boards, two steals, and seven assists. Westbrook claims he never focused on racking up triple-doubles as much as pushing his team to victory, so what happens when he does focus on it?

Although Westbrook won the honors for the most triple-doubles (42) not only this season but all-time - beating Oscar Robertson's record - Harden still had 22 to his credit not an easy task. In the first postseason game of his four-season career, Oladipo was a no-show with six points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.

Alas, Adam Silver is not Vince McMahon (sucks for Adam), but we do get some juicy storylines and angles to watch over the next ten days or so. "We knew their stuff, just like they knew ours".

In the final meeting between the teams, the Rockets led by as many as 25 points in their wire-to-wire 137-125 win.

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And Isco - who has made only one Champions League start all season - may have played himself into contention with an excellent game.

Backup point guard Ian Clark contributed seven points in the flurry, but it was increased defensive pressure that really turned the tide.

Against the Thunder they shot 37.5 percent, a mark that would have ranked fifth in the National Basketball Association, shooting 60 for 160.

The Rockets have had more depth than the Thunder though throughout the season and find themselves finishing in third spot out of a tough Western Conference. Eric Gordon scored just eight points while Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza had just four points each, but their usual production wasn't required as the Rockets dominated the second half by 59-33 on the back of their defense. When OKC hosts Game 3 on Friday, the Thunder plays before its 298th consecutive sellout crowd. The Rockets will come out buzzing on offense, the Thunder need to respond with equal, if not more, force, and the Thunder's big boys play a critical role in creating added offense. Butler scored 10 straight points to put the Bulls back in front early in the fourth, the first of three lead changes in the fourth quarter. "We've got to protect the 3-point line and make it (difficult for them)". The players from the Thunder walked in the opposite direction, deflated, knowing they must regroup for Game 2 on Wednesday.

Houston was better during every minute of the third, extending what had been a five-point halftime advantage to a 15-point cushion by the end of the period.

To be frank, Capela (14 PTS), Nene (15), and an unchecked guard corps headlined by Beverley and Harden eviscerated OKC's non-existent paint resistance.