HOUSTON (AP) Although James Harden is Houston’s undisputed star, he can’t tip Russell Westbrook wholly on his own.
As is so mostly a case, Patrick Beverley was there for support Sunday night.
Harden scored 37 points to dwarf Westbrook, and a Rockets pulled divided in a third entertain and coasted to a 118-87 feat over a Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Harden had 9 assists and 7 rebounds, and Beverley, who had a unenviable charge of guarding Westbrook, had a playoff career-best 21 points along with 10 rebounds.
Beverley’s opening was zero new to Harden, who has had a front quarrel chair to his work for years.
”That’s a reason we’re in a position we’re in,” Harden said. ”He brings it each game. Whether his shot is descending or not, he brings that intensity, that resolve. He was only Pat tonight.”
The best-of-seven Western Conference array continues Wednesday night in Houston.
The third-seeded Rockets were adult by 20 when Harden came off a dais with about 7 mins remaining. He went right to work – creation dual 3-pointers to appetite a 10-0 run and pull a lead to 110-80 with 4 1/2 mins left. Harden, who along with Westbrook is a front-runner for MVP, went to a bench, and both teams privileged their benches shortly after that.
Westbrook had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists, though done only 6 of 23 shots and had 9 turnovers for a sixth-seeded Thunder.
”We’ve got to do a improved pursuit starting with myself – got to do a improved pursuit of holding caring of a basketball and creation some shots,” Westbrook said.
Beverley refused to take credit for negligence Westbrook down.
”It was a group bid in only perplexing to uncover him a lot of bodies,” he said. ”He’s one of a many bomb guards in this league, so we were only perplexing to make it tough on him.”
The Thunder trailed by 15 entering a fourth quarter, and 6 true points by a Rockets extended a lead to 100-78 with about 7 1/2 mins remaining. Lou Williams scored a initial 4 points in that span, and Beverley found Clint Capela on an alley-oop dunk.
The Rockets scored a initial 5 points of a second half to pull their lead to 10 early in a third quarter. After a timeout, Oklahoma City scored a subsequent 8 points with 3s from Westbrook and Andre Roberson to cut it to 64-62 with about 8 1/2 mins left in a quarter.
Houston scored a subsequent 9 points, capped by uninterrupted 3-pointers by Beverley to make it 73-64 mid by a period.
Beverley went to a dais shortly after that to a outrageous acclaim and a high 5 from Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, who watched a diversion from a courtside seat.
Thunder manager Billy Donovan raved about Beverley.
”He played a very, unequivocally good game,” Donavan said. ”I suspicion he impacted a diversion way, approach some-more with his energy, his effort, his hustle, his lax balls, his descent rebounding, gripping balls alive. That’s where he unequivocally did a good job.”
Westbrook finished a scoring drought of roughly 3 1/2 mins for a Thunder with a layup, though Houston used an 8-2 emanate – highlighted by a 3 from Eric Gordon – to pull a lead to 81-68 with only some-more than 3 mins remaining in a third.
Harden done a span of giveaway throws to top a third entertain and leave Houston adult 89-74 entering a fourth.
For Houston manager Mike D’Antoni, it’s a initial postseason win given Apr 27, 2008, with Phoenix. D’Antoni’s teams were swept in a initial turn in his final dual trips to a playoffs in 2011 with a Knicks and 2013 with a Lakers.
Houston’s feat comes after a group went 3-1 in a unchanging deteriorate opposite a Thunder.
The Rockets led 59-54 during halftime.
Thunder: Roberson combined 18 points with 7 rebounds. … Oklahoma City, that led a NBA in resilient in a unchanging season, was outrebounded 56-41. … Jerami Grant had 10 points.
Rockets: Capela missed a few mins in a second entertain to accept 3 stitches in his lip. He had 14 points and 7 rebounds. … Nene had 15 points. … Houston had 31 second-chance points to only 4 by a Thunder.
THEY SAID IT
Thunder core Steven Adams on Oklahoma City’s performance: ”We were only rabble on a reads, on a pick-and-rolls. We were only positively garbage. We only have to go behind to a sketch house and figure it out before Game 2.”
PUTTING THE WIN IN PERSPECTIVE
D’Antoni wants to make certain that his group realizes it still has a lot of work to do notwithstanding a large win.
”All we did is urge a home court, and that’s what we’re ostensible to do,” he said. ”It’s good to play good and get a win since we have to, though this is only one small step … in a large intrigue of things. I’m certain they’ll rebound back, and we’ve got to be prepared to go.”
Oklahoma City will sojourn in Houston for dual days of use before Game 2 on Wednesday night during a Toyota Center.
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