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

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

Westbrook set a franchise playoff scoring record and added 13 assists and 10 rebounds.

Westbrook's achievement this season in triple-double category has been part of the success of the Thunder.

WASHINGTON - In a rough-and-tumble, foul-filled game, Bradley Beal took over in the fourth quarter with 16 of his 31 points, including a key late 3-pointer, helping the Washington Wizards beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-101 on Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

The Rockets benefited from a balanced scoring attack, with Lou Williams adding 21, Gordon scoring 22 off the bench and game one star Beverley chipping in 15.

Wednesday night's game summed up the Thunder this season. "I don't give a (expletive) about the line", he said. And Oklahoma City won 47 games this season, which means that more than 70% of OKC's wins were decided by Westbrook's ability to notch up a triple-double.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports	 Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports  Jeffrey Swinger
Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports Jeffrey Swinger

The first half saw the Westbrook that the Thunder wanted and the Westbrook the rest of the National Basketball Association feared - Westbrook had 22 points and 10 assists in the first 24 minutes. The Rockets needed their three-man second unit to turn around Game 2 against the Thunder and perhaps take control of the first-round series. He followed up game 1 with a 12-8 to go with 2 steals and 3 blocks, plus another masterful defensive display on how to slow down an elite offensive player in Harden. The Thunder are 17-7 ATS in their last 24 home games, 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games playing on 1 days rest and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win. They took a different approach in Game 2, switching sometimes, but also dropping big men back in certain pick-and-roll coverages and hedging or leveling in others. "Russell Westbrook had a 50 point triple double tonight.... clearly displaying how overrated the 50 point triple double can be". The team got out to a 35-26 lead at the end of the first quarter, thanks to a hot start from Russell Westbrook. He was hitting everything at first and then got a little cold at the end. but he had a great game. Oklahoma City went more than three minutes without any offense to permit Houston to gain the lead.

Wednesday's loss feels like a punch to the gut of the Thunder because they got a big Westbrook night, they had 14 point lead in the second half, and it wasn't enough.

Westbrook scored 51 points and nearly had a triple-double by the half as his MVP rival James Harden knocked down 35 points for the Houston Rockets. Westbrook, who often encountered tight defense from Houston forward Trevor Ariza, was 4 of 18 in the fourth and still scored 15 of Oklahoma City's 22 points. Timeout Thunder, but Westbrook stayed on the bench. Harden finished with 35 points and eight assists and was 18 for 18 from the free-throw line before missing a pair with 1.7 seconds left. McDermott scored 11 points in only 12 minutes. Every playoff minute is important, and as long as the Thunder keep digging holes for Russ to climb out of, they'll have to live with the results of Westbrook doing things his own way.

Houston dismantled the Thunder in the second half of Sunday's game, outscoring them 59-33.

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