James Harden explodes in Sunday's win over OKC

James Harden explodes in Sunday's win over OKC

Turns out, he did the opposite.

Chicago Bulls' Rajon Rondo (9) goes up to shoot in front of Boston Celtics' Kelly Olynyk (41) during the first quarter of a first-round NBA playoff basketball game Sunday, April 16, 2017, in Boston. And that's exactly what Beverley did to Westbrook. Two minutes later, he hit a 3-pointer from the right corner. "If they rotate next game, then we will take threes".

Even as the Thunder adequately halted Houston's overt three-point tendencies (10-33 3PA), this undertaking was waylayed by the Rockets' unabated post presence.

After the game, Beverley said he thought it was a clean pick and had no issue with Adams.

"That dude knocks him out", Watt said. We just got to figure it out. "The beginning of the third quarter got a little shaky".

Defensively, Beverley shut down the presumptive MVP as much as anyone could hope for, both before and after the screen.

BOSTON (AP) - The Chicago Bulls waited until the final night of the regular season to cement their spot in the postseason. That is, the lack of support to lead the Thunder deeper into the playoffs if no one steps up. "Things happen. I move forward". The players from the Thunder walked in the opposite direction, deflated, knowing they must regroup for Game 2 on Wednesday. Jerami Grant had 10 points.

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He jabbed Westbrook in the backcourt. "When they do that, I am ready", said Capela. That's what Beverley does.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Rockets made a decision to flash one of those "head-to-head" graphics up on the Jumbotron, but instead of putting Harden up against Westbrook, Houston chose to compare Westbrook to Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley. "They still made some tough shots, which they're going to do. You live with it". After a strong 15 points in the first half, the giveaways piled up as the All-Star searched for help, ultimately ending the night with 22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and nine turnovers. Oh, he also held the soon-to-be MVP to 6-23 shooting. He could never find a rhythm. In other moments, he couldn't create space. "I can't really do anything.' He was just staring me down", Watt said.

Beverley hardly did it alone, of course. Tonight they wanted it more. Dwight Howard had 14 rebounds but just seven points. Houston had 31 second-chance points to just four by the Thunder. OKC finished with just four.

Indeed, Harden has a much better team around him.

- More than anything, however, Westbrook concluded that a lot of the mistakes the Thunder made can be remedied with effort, energy and intensity. Rookie Alex Abrines went scoreless.

Harden and Westbrook are considered the frontrunners in the league MVP race. Harden also had nine assists and seven rebounds, and Patrick Beverley had a playoff career-best 21 points along with 10 rebounds for the Rockets.

Game two of the series is Tuesday at the Garden. The Thunder will need to do what they did to stay close with the Rockets during the regular season, which is mainly hit the basics - pester the Rockets on the perimeter, bully them on the inside, slow down and frustrate Harden, and keep everyone (including and especially Harden) off the line.