HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – A little less than a year ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost game one of their Western Conference semifinal series in San Antonio by 32 points. They won four of the next five games to win that series. Sunday at Toyota Center, they lost to the Rockets by 31, but both teams know it’s just one game of a long series.
“All we did is defend our home court,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Obviously it’s nice to play well, it’s nice to get the win because you have to, but it doesn’t mean anything if you comeback Wednesday and you don’t do it again.”
The Rockets will try to hold serve again in game two Wednesday night in front of their home crowd before heading to Oklahoma City for game three Friday night, and while they played well in game one, they know the next game is completely different.
“It’s only one game,” James Harden said. “We stay at even keel and prepare and take that momentum into game two. Watch film and figure out things we can do better, things that we weren’t great at, and be ready for game two.”
Sunday was just the second time in seven series during the Harden era that the Rockets won game one. They beat the Dallas Mavericks after winning the first game of the first round two years ago, but the Thunder know that winning game one just means you won the first game. After winning the series against San Antonio, Oklahoma City won game one of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, only to lose that series in seven games.
“It’s to four games, the first team to four,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “They’re up 1-0.”
As for the margin of victory in game one, Donovan says that doesn’t mean anything.
“Whether it’s 5-points, 20, 30, 40, I mean, bottom line it’s still 1-0. Certainly we know we have to do a lot of things better against certainly a terrific offensive team, and I mean on both sides, we need to play better on the offensive side of the floor and the defensive side of the floor.”