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Leonard has 32 points, Spurs rout Grizzlies 111-82 in Game 1

20 April, 2017, 13:54 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez
  • Win or lose the MVP award the Rockets will benefit.    
   Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden scored 37 points as Houston Rockets routed Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City Thunder 118-87 in the opening game of their National Basketball Association playoff series on Sunday. I really don't know what the criteria is considered for all-defense. "They're switching with the big and they were taking our three-pointers away, so I just tried to get to the basket".

There are few players in the National Basketball Association who can drive into the teeth of the defense and score at the rim or find an open shooter out of that action like Harden.

To everyone's surprise, D'Antoni hit it well with the Rockets.

Harden averaged 29.1 points (61.3 true shooting percentage), 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists this season, with his penchant for facilitating coming to the forefront frequently against the Thunder.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden dribbles the ball around Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter.

Speaking of Beverley, here he is earning endangered species status when he runs into a screen by the Thunder's Steven Adams. Adams explained the past two days have provided clarity on his reads, specifically when and how he needs to decisively commit to either the ball or the roll man in those pick-and-roll actions.

"We let them get to their spots in the first half", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. Houston coasted to victory despite missing 23 of 33 3-point attempts.

The Rockets know a key to success will be limiting Oklahoma City's rebounding. All things being equal, scoring off defensive rebounds at the rate they did in the regular season would have netted them an additional 10 points, not enough to erase the margin of defeat but significant when you consider how outlier-poor their 3-point shooting and offensive rebounding was. "We need to do a better job of rotationally blocking out".

Houston led by 11 points late in the third quarter in that matchup on November 16, by 13 in the third quarter when it won at Oklahoma City 102-99 on December 9, and by 18 before holding on for a 118-116 home victory on January 5.

Win, and Wednesday's home teams will be in control.

These discrepancies can't be fully attributed to Roberson as defense is more of a team effort, but it is clear Roberson has had a sizable affect on Harden when they share the court.

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Oracle Arena. He punished Oklahoma City's bigs every time they switched out onto him on the perimeter. He missed five shots and had three turnovers. Both teams will certainly employ various tactics to slow down the other's star, but Beverley and Roberson will be the first line of defense. "Whatever you see is the way the game's going".

Russell Westbrook: He has already done the impossible, setting a record for triple doubles in the regular season. There was nothing to suggest it was anything worse than reckless, but that didn't matter to Russell Westbrook's torn meniscus then, nor does it matter to the Thunder guard now. Game 1 of this duel between the two former teammates went decidedly to Harden. The Rockets had 31 second-chance points, while the Thunder had just four.

The Thunder came into the night the superior rebounding team, but they grabbed just 42 percent of available rebounds. Victor Oladipo scored only six points on 1-12 shooting from the field.

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