For the first half of game one, the scores were pretty even and despite better efficiency on the side of Houston, Oklahoma City looked to stay competitive all the way through.
That competitiveness petered out in the third quarter when Russell Westbrook fell apart offensively and the Rockets took full advantage.
If the MVP was decided based on performance in this series alone, James Harden would have a sizable lead after scoring 37 points and adding seven rebounds and nine assists.
Arguably more impressive was Patrick Beverly, who scored 21 points while adding 10 rebounds and three assists in only 25 minutes. He shot 61.5 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from three.
The biggest plus for Houston was their dominance in the paint.
They took Oklahoma City’s biggest strength and turned it against them. Because the Thunder were so busy chasing shooters and switching screens, that allowed free reign in the paint for cutters and the Houston bigs.
Westbrook contributed 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, but was also responsible for nine turnovers and shot a measly 6-23 – 26.1 percent – on the night.
Aside from Brodie, the next top performer was Andre Roberson with 18 points and seven rebounds. He was amazing from the field, shooting 70 percent, and his season average of 24 percent from three didn’t show when he nailed four of his six attempts – 66.7 percent – on the night.
The biggest disappointment for OKC came in the form of Victor Oladipo. Oladipo scored just six points, but those six points came off 8.3 percent shooting. He went 1-12 from the field and 0-6 from deep.
This was an awful showing for the Thunder. They will need Oladipo and Steven Adams to step up for them if they want any hope of taking a game from Houston.
Good news though. The Rockets will have to respect Roberson from range in the next game if other players start contributing. That will help floor spacing if he can keep his hot streak going.