MVP favorites Harden, Westbrook get first-round showdown

Thunder vs Rockets

The Rockets won by a comfortable margin of 118-87. "They still made some tough shots, which they're going to do".

That chase for 73 wins and breaking the Chicago Bulls' record last season generated so much scrutiny when the Golden State Warriors failed to win it all at the end.

This will be just his second trip to the playoffs after he appeared in just one series with the Pelicans, in 2015. Sorry, I said I would move on. I personally prefer the latter. Nearly immediately after joining the Houston Rockets, comparisons of their playing style and incredible talents started; as well as the contrasts.

Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams made his physical presence felt in the opening match of Oklahoma City Thunder's playoff match against the Houston Rockets today. Because Westbrook takes all the shots and the supporting cast has had no chance to find an identity this season.

He has revived his coaching career and put the Rockets back in contention in his first head coaching stint since resigning from the Lakers after going 27-55 in 2013-14.

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Toyota Center. This year they have the third best record in the National Basketball Association.

Harden had nine assists and seven rebounds, and Beverley, who had the unenviable task of guarding Westbrook, had a playoff career-best 21 points along with 10 rebounds.

Harden was the better player.

"He does it every game", said Harden, who finished with 37 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists.

To everyone's surprise, D'Antoni hit it well with the Rockets.

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"We've had numerous games when we're not shooting the ball well", Harden said. "He's been doing it for so long so he knows that what he does and what he brings to the table works".

"We've got some guys that can make an impact, so we just want to press the gas", he said. By the time he knocked down a 3-pointer over Jerami Grant to extend the lead to 23 in the fourth quarter, Roberson was on the other side of the floor.

At home, the Rockets have been strong all season and it's hard to see them messing up in the first game of the series. Russell Westbrook had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in the loss.

Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza, and Eric Gordon all had serious off nights, combining for 16 points on 6/18 shooting.

The rude truth of it is that Westbrook doesn't play well against people and/or teams with which he has beef because, while he's at his best when angry, he's at his most careless when annoyed. "I can't really do anything, '" Watt said. "Get them in the halfcourt where they're not quite as good as in full court".

His players certainly feel the same way.

While Harden was the straw that stirred the drink, he wasn't the only Rocket to play well. "He talks to you, you have conversations".

If I had to give an edge to one, I would say Oscar because of the better shooting percentage (48 percent to 43 percent), but any way you look at it, both players had legendary seasons.

On a day Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum put on a dazzling display of shot-making for Portland, the NBA's top-seeded team of superstars found its touch down the stretch and defended with goal. He isn't surprised by its success, but there are occasions where he steps back to think about just how thankful he is for this opportunity. "They're switching with the big and they were taking our three-pointers away, so I just tried to get to the basket".

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