Houston Rockets: Was Game 1 Win versus OKC a Fluke?
A lot of people thought that the Oklahoma City Thunder was going to give the Houston Rockets problems in the first round. Russell Westbrook is out for the first few games in this NBA playoff series and potentially longer due to a quad injury. Even without him, Houston dominated Oklahoma City in Game 1 by a score of 123-108.
The Rockets heard all of the outside noise that they wouldn’t be able to beat the Thunder without Westbrook, but they are off to a good start in this series. Houston is the fourth seed in the Western Conference and Oklahoma City is the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
It was no surprise that James Harden carried this team once again. He scored 37 points. Harden shot 54.5 percent from the field. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and recorded three assists.
James Harden is the heart and soul of this Rockets basketball team. They may not have won this game without him.
Jeff Green was the second-leading scorer for Houston with 22 points. He shot 66.7 percent from the field. Green also grabbed six rebounds, recorded four assists, and recorded one steal.
As for the Thunder, Danilo Gallinari scored 29 points. He shot 52.9 percent from the field. Gallinari grabbed three rebounds, recorded three assists, and blocked one shot.
Chris Paul scored 20 points. He shot 50 percent from the field. Paul grabbed 10 rebounds, recorded nine assists, and recorded two steals.
He was acquired in a trade last offseason from the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, coached by Bill Donovan, was supposed to be a rebuild job this season. However, General Manager Sam Presti has done a tremendous job keeping this team competitive though.
As for the Houston Rockets, this is the final season of Head Coach Mike D’Antoni‘s contract. General Manager Darryl Morrey is hoping that they are able to win a championship for the first time since going back-to-back in 1994-1995 when they defeated the Orlando Magic in six games though.
Whenever Russell Westbrook returns, they could potentially be scary. Danuel House Jr., Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers, Robert Covington, and Ben McLemore will be some of the key players on this roster moving forward though.
I would like their chances better if they had a big man like Clint Capela. However, if they win this series, they will have to face the (8) Portland Trail Blazers or the (1) Los Angeles Lakers in the second round.
If the Houston Rockets get past there, they would potentially face (3) Denver Nuggets or (2) Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, but there is a chance that (7) Dallas Mavericks or (6) Utah Jazz could pull an upset along the way though.
Most likely it would be Houston vs (1) Milwaukee Bucks or (2) Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, but they could also face a team like the (3) Boston Celtics or (5) Miami Heat though.
The Houston Rockets could go as far as winning the NBA Championship this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost in the first-round either because of Harden’s and Westbrook’s playoff failures in the recent past though.
Do you think the Houston Rockets could win it all this season or was their Game 1 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder a fluke though? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.