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

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With the Rockets leading by just five points early in the third quarter during Game 1 of the Thunder's first-round series, Russell Westbrook darted up the court with the ball. "The bigs, especially me, played trash on the reads, and the pick-and-rolls were absolute garbage".

Harden had nine assists and seven rebounds, and Beverley, who had the unenviable task of guarding Westbrook, had a playoff career-best 21 points along with 10 rebounds. From that point on, the Rockets dominated. All the while, the Rockets found their stride, outscoring OKC 59-33 in the second half.

Much of the criticism surrounding the Thunder's Sunday night loss centered around Billy Donovan's unsuccessful game plan to switch on screens.

Meanwhile, the Rockets were eighth in the league in rebounding, but just league average getting defensive rebounds. "Tonight he made shots, he rebounded the ball at a high level, he's just Pat tonight". He brings it every game.

I've been trying to come up with a way to accurately describe the embarrassment James Harden bestowed upon Enes Kanter last night, but honestly you might as well watch it yourself.

The Rockets are already thinking about their next chess move. "We have to be ready to go for Wednesday". By the NBA's count, the Blazers had 46 open shots in Game 1 and made only 19 of them.

Elsewhere, the Golden State Warriors clamped down in the fourth quarter to pull away to a 121-109 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in game one of their series. It's what makes him possibly the best point guard defender in the National Basketball Association, one of the few 1-guards who defends Westbrook consistently instead of turning the responsibility over to a rangier teammate. And they were switching everything and he was just exploiting what was there.

"As a point guard I have to try to find ways to split the defense".

This is all great news for Houston's frontcourt.

The Thunder and Rockets will square off again in game two on Wednesday night. "We hang out in the summertime when I see him". "I think y'all think, 'Oh, you only have one friend". Probably. However, Harden's presence in the paint made things hard for Russell Westbrook, which led to a 6-for-23 shooting night and nine turnovers for Westbrook.

The way Patrick Beverley, Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza play will determine exactly how many points Houston can put up, but with their defence being the fourth worst in the league, they need a lot. The Rockets finished with a 31-4 advantage on second-chance points.

"He's the best player in the NBA", Watts said. "Help side you help, and then you have to sprint back and box out and make sure you don't lose sight".

"I don't know. I don't have a criteria. If we cut some of those down, we would have been in a pretty good spot". The Thunder averaged 106.6 points per game in the regular season. The NBA MVP award is something, but whoever leads the team into the next round would matter more. Gordon, who has struggled with injuries over the last few seasons, appeared in 75 games, which is the most since he played 78 as a rookie in 2008-09. The more hated a player is by other fan bases, the more beloved a player is by his own fan base, which is to say that Beverley might be the most popular non-Harden Rocket of the last five seasons, and one of the five or ten most popular non-title team Rockets of all-time. It's the reason D'Antoni trusted him with floor-spacing discretion in the first place. At the time maybe it was Wilson or some other s--'. We just got to figure it out.

While it's tough to envision two friends who are that close opting not to speak at all, it's probably better for both of their teams. The outcome of the game was no longer up for debate.

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