James Harden put in an impressive performance against Oklahoma City Thunder as he gained 37 points to give Houston Rockets a 1-0 lead in the playoff series.
Oklahoma City Thunder won the tip-off to start the first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs, for the western conference sides. It wasn’t long before Thunders Point Guard, Danilo Gallinari, placed the first points on the board with a successful two-point shot.
However, in response to the first points being scored, Houston Rockets’ James Harden responded with an incredible three point shot from the left side of the court as he gave the Texas squad the lead.
By the end of the first quarter, the Rockets had gained a eight point lead over Oklahoma (28-20), which was aided by their 42.9% for field goals. While City Thunder had the most points inside the paint – with 10 points, Houston were more threatening behind the three-point line with four more successful 3pt shots compared to Oklahoma’s one successful three-point shot.
No Mercy. It may as well had been the Rockets slogan as the second quarter started with their domination in the opening minutes, while they pushed out 17 points over Oklahoma (37-20).
Half-way through Q2, there was a brief moment of worry for the Rockets as Harden fell to the ground while he held onto his knee. However, he remained on the court after he got back onto his feet.
Despite the fact it was too early to accurately predict, it seemed like the Rockets had the game in the bag. However, two quarters still remained and Oklahoma could still pull back the score if they worked on their defense. The three-point shots from the likes of Houston’s P.J. Tucker and Harden seemed to diminish the opportunity for City to lead the playoff series.
As half-time arrived, Rockets led over Oklahoma, 68-52. Even though Thunder was able to remain close to Houston’s impressive scoreline, which showed their determination to remain in the game, they were poor defensively in the first half – especially at three-point range.
As the third quarter got underway, Oklahoma seemed to bring their game offensively as they were able to bring the scoreline down to just 10 points. However, Houston were still able to keep City Thunder at bay.
Which was helped by Harden’s three-point accuracy, across the quarter, as the ball seemed to constantly fall into the net – even if he was deep behind the ‘D.’
As Q3 came to a close, Houston became centenarians with 104 points to their name while Oklahoma remained the side that needed to catch up with only 83 points as we headed into the final quarter.
However, it took the Rockets’ just over three minutes, in the last quarter, to move away from their 104 points with a two-point shot inside the paint. Whereas Oklahoma were able to gain four points from the break.
With less than four minutes left on the clock, City Thunder managed to pull down the scoreline to just 13 points as they reached the century mark. On the other hand, Houston seemed to struggle to carry their momentum to finish out the game.
But, after back-to-back timeout’s from both teams, Houston managed to regain their footing in the match as they pushed their lead out once again to 123-108.
Final score: Houston Rockets 123 – Oklahoma City Thunder 108