Rockets overcome Westbrook's 51, take 2-0 lead over Thunder

Thearon W. Henderson  Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets battled in Game 2 of their NBA Playoffs series on Wednesday night, and once again Russell Westbrook had us all on the edge of our seats with his performance.

With Houston packing the paint, daring anyone but Westbrook to beat them, the Thunder point guard had one of his most ineffective games of the year in the series opener on Sunday. The final score was 115-111. Russell Westbrook had 22 and 10 in the first half Wednesday.

Ian Clark scored 13 points, Andre Iguodala contributed 10 rebounds, six assists and six points, and Zaza Pachulia scored 10 points.

Portland couldn't keep up after it began 6 for 21 and struggled from deep. Westbrook has owned the clutch this season, but a game's worth of doing it all caught up to him and he turned back into a pumpkin when the game was on the line.

Westbrook will be back at it on Friday night, as his Thunder take on the Rockets in Game 3 for the first game played at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City during the series. Houston should continue to get high-percentage shots against this OKC defense and roll to a big win. When an offensive play needs to be drawn up, D'Antoni goes to work and figures out what they need to do.

Obviously, the OKC Thunder lost. Shooting 23% from three will not translate to any wins either. Come playoff time, coaches must trust a good solid 8-9 guys. He had 22 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists at the intermission, and the Rockets needed a lengthy stretch of Harden free throws just to maintain a workable margin.

And when it all went to shit, Westbrook was right there in the center of that too.

The MVP trophy should be given to the player who provides the most value to their respective team.

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And that's the central contradiction of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Playing better on offense was an obvious plus as well. For the Thunder, there was no Game 1 hangover.

The rebounding was much better.

Patrick Beverley also added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists for his second straight strong effort.

Every year since Harden has been in Houston, the Rockets have made the playoffs - that's kinda incredible when you think about it - and while they made the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago, this team, this year, is the one that's truly special. This helped cause more fast breaks and cause less second chance points from the Rockets.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan thought Westbrook might have gotten exhausted late after playing the entire fourth quarter, but Westbrook brushed off that notion.

One thing I did notice early on in the game was Billy Donovan channeling his inner Bob Huggins and using a full-court press on James Harden.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be feeling demoralised with the loss as they were in control for most of the game.

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