Harden, who led his Houston Rockets to a commanding 118-87 win, finished with 37 points (on 13-of-28 shooting), nine assists and seven rebounds in 34 minutes.
Wall also handed out 14 assists while teammate Bradley Beal scored 22 points and Markieff Morris added 21. "The bigs, especially me, played trash on the reads, and the pick-and-rolls were absolute garbage".
Going into Game 2, the Thunder must do better across the board.
Beverley was hot from the very start, and his scorching shooting helped carry the Rockets while Harden scuffled from the perimeter and the free-throw line. He missed five shots and had three turnovers.
The Thunder came into the night the superior rebounding team, but they grabbed just 42 percent of available rebounds. I had more trust in Sam to play as a small four. Every game that's my mindset. "I never worry about what other guys are doing".
The Rockets are already thinking about their next chess move. "If they rotate, then we'll take 3s".
"We just gotta bounce back", Gibson said. "We knew their stuff, just like they knew ours".
This is all great news for Houston's frontcourt.
Victor Oladipo will need to bounce back in Game 2, and his 1-for-12 shooting effort highlighted the Thunder's offensive struggle as they managed just 33 points in the second half. "I can't really do anything, '" Watt said.
The Thunder point guard kept his team in it for the first half, but played only 13 minutes in the second half as Houston was turning the game into a blowout.
Westbrook needed 23 shots to get his 22 points and turned the ball over nine times. All the while, the Rockets found their stride, outscoring OKC 59-33 in the second half.
"How you look at them, I'm asking you now".
So it's not a surprise that nearly every preview of this series talked about how the Thunder would take advantage on the boards against the Rockets. Imagine leading a mercurial team of gunners to 55 wins and the 3rd best record in the National Basketball Association a season after languishing in mediocrity.
Rondo said they wanted to be aggressive. The NBA MVP award is something, but whoever leads the team into the next round would matter more. They do have home court advantage, so he will try to continue and do as much damage as he can. You can check and see what criteria goes to all-defense.
NOTES: Thunder F Andre Roberson made three 3-pointers just three times in the regular season. It's the reason D'Antoni trusted him with floor-spacing discretion in the first place. Now that the playoffs are here and Harden is on the other team, Westbrook must be front and center unlike ever before.
With that being said, here are some key takeaways from Game 1. "We have to find different ways to win". And he made sure the crowd knew what he'd just done: Turning around to the fans on the right sideline, peering into the distance and moving his arms as if he were impersonating some kind of cheap, '80s robot, screaming consistent incoherence all the way.
Tip-off tonight is scheduled for 7:00 CT, and the game will be broadcast on TNT. We didn't shoot the ball well, but we got to the paint and we finished.