Coming into game 1 everyone knew it would be even harder to pull out a win with Russell Westbrook. A lot of media and some fans were giving the OKC Thunder the edge in the series over the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets had a different idea. They came out and punched the Thunder in the mouth leading the majority of the game and coasting to a dominating win in game 1. Here is the top three reasons the Houston Rockets are up 1-0 in the best of seven series.
The Rockets defense
The Rockets knew coming into this game that they would have to contend with the Thunder three headed monster at guard. Even though Paul finished with 20 points on 50 percent shooting he stuggled through the first three quarters only getting his scoring going in the fourth while the game was pretty much over.
The Rockets held Sha Gilgeous Alexander and Dennis Schroder to a combined 5 of 20 from the field. That made all the difference in this game. Danilo Gallinari had a good game but those three guards are what makes the Thunder offense work.
The Rockets also held the Thunder to 44 percent shooting from the field. Also forced 12 turnovers which are a lot when Paul is the point guard.
The bench production
The bench has been an area of concern all year long. The lack of scoring and playmaking were issues earlier in the year. The Rockets were one of the lowest scoring benches in the league. With the addition of Jeff Green and Ben McLemore being on fire the second half of the season, the bench has become a strong suit of this team.
In the Rockets 123-108 win the Rockets bench outscored the Thunder bench 42-27. The duo of Green and McLemore did a lot of damage. The tandam scored 36 of the Rockets bench points. Keep in mind the Rockets bench is shorthanded with Gordon in the starting lineup.
Houston Rockets did not get destroyed on the boards
Once the Rockets went to small ball rebounding was going to be the one area they would struggle. The Houston Rockets decided once they made the trade that they were willing to sacrifice this area.
In-game 1 the Rockets fought for every rebound and boxed out enough to keep the rebounding total close. The Rockets were only outrebounded by 10 which is a minor miracle considering some of the deficits in previous games. If the Rockets can keep the rebounding battle close they can go up 2-0 and take a commanding lead.
The Rockets take on the Thunder game 2 at 2:30 CT as the Rockets look to take the first two games.
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