BY Lachard Binkley
The Houston Rockets were hoping to not be in this situation. With a chance to close out the Thunder the Rockets literally threw away another game. With under 10 seconds left Russell Westbrook drove hard into the paint try to throw it back to Robert Covington but threw it out of bounds. The Rockets are now in a do or die game seven coming up tomorrow.
There is still hope as it took a lot of situations going the Thunder way to pull out a victory. Here are three reasons why the Houston Rockets WILL win game 7 and move on to the second round.
The Houston Rockets are the best team in not turning the ball over
The Houston Rockets were the number one team in the playoffs in limiting turnovers. At least before last night game, they were number one at only 11 turnovers a game. Last night they had 22 yes 22 turnovers including the last one that cost them the game. The Rockets have been great since the trade deadline in forcing turnovers and not turning it over themselves.
For the Rockets to win game 7 they have to take better care of the ball especially if their shot is off from 3-point range.
Russell Westbrook can’t be any worse. Seriously
When Westbrook came back for game 5 of this series everyone knew there would be some rust. In game 5 just like game 6 he was was on a minute restriction. Even with all the time off Westbrook looked under control and even though he wasn’t scoring a lot still had a positive impact on the game. In game 6 it all went downhill. Westbrook still wasn’t scoring but his impact in other areas was one of the main reasons the Rockets lost.
Westbrook had the worst game of his Rockets career maybe of his entire career. Even though his shot was actually better this game finishing 8-15 with 17 points his turnovers were momentum killers. Westbrook finished with seven turnovers and multiple bad plays in the fourth quarter including an air ball late and of course the costly turnover with under 10 seconds left in the game.
Westbrook is the ultimate competitor even in series-clinching losses the last two years Westbrook has put up enormous numbers. Even with Westbrook making mistake after mistake the Rockets still had a chance to win late. If Westbrook can at least be a net positive the Rockets should be able to pull out the win. I believe Westbrook comes out on fire in game 7 and has one of his best games of the year.
The Houston Rockets still have the best player in the series
For all the mistakes and late-game miscues for the Rockets the one thing that can’t be disputed is James Harden is still the best player. In five of the six games so far Harden has scored over 30 points while shooting 44 percent or better from the field. He has seemingly figured out Lou Dort and the OKC defensive strategy. Especially in the last two games, his efficiency has been great.
Harden’s legacy is on the line for game seven it is no doubt about that. Harden has been the best player all series long and I fully expect him to show why he is a former MVP and top-three player in the league today.
My final prediction for game seven is Rockets 115 OKC 98.
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