And just like that, this Rockets/Thunder series became increasingly more hectic. Twitter isn’t the most credible place for worthwhile opinions, with its narrative changing as quickly as its trending topics. Last night, the discussion fell squarely on Kevin Durant’s lap and his ability to lead his team.
It wasn’t the fairest comparison, especially given the fact KD dropped 41 and 14 in Game 3 (including the game winner) and damn near drug his teammates to a win in Game 4. However, in Game 5, the Rockets put together their overall best performance of the series. Led by James Harden’s 31-8-3 on 10-16 shooting (7-9 from three!), H-Town trimmed the series lead to 3-2 with a suddenly mega-important Game 6 looming on Friday.
Despite Durant’s 18-point third quarter, the final frame proved head-scratching. KD went scoreless in the fourth on only two field goal attempts (still finished with 36-7-7). Meanwhile, scrapping the bottom of the bucket in terms of strategies, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks employed “Hack-A-Asik” on Omer Asik who proceeded to flip the proverbial bird on national TV as he went 11-16 from the charity stripe.
The end result?
Houston wins 107-100 with the narrative the next 48 centering around KD and this suddenly vulnerable #1 seed.* It’d probably help if Kevin Martin scores more than three points, but whatever.
* – Putting things in perspective, KD won’t have to battle through years of being the lone star on his team similar to Kobe and LeBron in the mid-to-late 2000’s. Russell Westbrook will be back next year. And they’ve got a potential Top 10 draft pick.