By Lachard Binkley
The Houston Rockets were hoping for a better outcome after their game three overtime lost. It was a close game throughout and even saw the Rockets come out on fire in the third quarter. Unfortunately, that didn’t transfer over to the fourth quarter as the shots weren’t falling. Here are the three main reasons this series is tied at two.
Almost triple the free throw attempts by the Thunder
The Rockets were not happy with the officiating after game 3. They were several calls that the Rockets believed decided the game. So coming into this game they were hoping for more of an equal whistle. That was not the case and actually it was more of a gulf between the two teams from the line.
The Thunder shot 28 free throws to the Rockets 10. Made 13 more which was a big reason the Rockets 23 three-pointers made did not lead to a win. Part of it was just bad rotations and bad defense but it was also just bad overall officiating.
Bench scoring or lack thereof for the Houston Rockets
In the two wins for the Rockets, the bench had a great impact. Both games the bench held or increased the lead once Harden went to the bench. The last two losses the bench has been outscored badly. This game the Thunder bench scored 43 to the Rockets 13. That is a huge issue especially with Russell Westbrook not playing. The non-Harden minutes will of course always be difficult but especially until Westbrook is back.
Houston Rockets lack of defense
In the first two games the Rockets defense was stellar. In the game 2 win the Rockets held the Thunder under a 100 points. The last two games the defense has trended down. They have given up 117 points and 119 points the last two games. The Thunder shote 48.8 percent from the field.
The three-guard lineup that was held in check the first two games has exploded especially Dennis Schroder and Gilgeous Alexander. The Thunder have gotten to the basket way to easy the last two games which have gotten the Rockets in constant foul trouble.
If I told you at the start of the series that the Rockets would be 2-2 with no Westbrook I am sure you would have taken it. Have the last two games been disappointing definitely but it is still anyone series. Westbrook may be back for game 5 which of course would be a big boost for the Rockets.
Rockets and Thunder Game 5 5:30 CT
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