HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The series was supposed to be about Russell Westbrook and James Harden, they’re the MVP candidates, but in the Rockets 118-87 game one win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night at Toyota Center, Patrick Beverley stole the show.
The stars got their numbers, 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists for Westbrook, while Harden gave the Rockets 37 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists, but it was Beverley who was the most significant player on the floor.
They guy did everything. He made shots, scoring a career playoff-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, and added a couple of steals, including picking Westbrook’s pocket for a breakaway layup in the first half. He even got up off the deck after being leveled by a Steven Adams screen in the third quarter.
Houston started out the gates quickly, taking a 10-3 lead after Beverley’s swipe of Westbrook, but the Thunder came back to tie and wound up taking a 6-point lead near the end of the first quarter. The Rockets scored the final four points of the period, and after the lead changed hands 11 times in the second quarter, the teams went to halftime with the Rockets leading 59-54. From that point on, the Rockets dominated.
Harden scored 13 in the quarter, while Beverley added 8 as the Rockets outscored Oklahoma City 30-20 in the 12 minutes and piled on in the fourth, leading by as many as 33.
Westbrook needed 23 shots to get his 22 points and turned the ball over nine times. He didn’t get a lot of help from teammates. Only two other Thunder finished in double-figures. Andre Roberson scored 18 points, knocking down his first four 3-pointers, while Jerami Grant scored 10. Victor Oladipo made 1-of-12 shots in his playoff debut.
The Rockets took a 1-0 series lead despite shooting just 30 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Trevor Ariza missed his only shot from out there, while Ryan Anderson missed all four, though he grabbed 12 rebounds, as the Rockes out-rebounded the NBA’s best rebounding team 56-41. Houston also outscored Oklahoma City in the paint 62-38.
Oklahoma City was limited to 37 percent shooting for the game, 29 percent in the second half.
Game two is Tuesday night at Toyota Center.