Everyone watching knew what had to happen for Oklahoma City to win game three versus Houston: Kevin Durant would need a superhuman game. And for the most part, KD lived up to the expectations. In the first quarter, the Rockets scored 19 points; Durant put up 17 by himself. At one point in the second quarter, the Thunder held a 26 point lead before ended the half up by 14 and their do-everything All-Star had 27.
Then, everything changed in the second half. Houston made everything difficult for Durant and his scoring shrunk, while the Rockets outscored the Thunder 27-14 in the third quarter to cut the lead to 4 points. Behind James Harden’s 30/8/6, the Rockets actually even took the lead 99-97 in the final minute. But again, KD found his mojo to hit a three-pointer that shaked, rattled and rolled on the rim finally falling in. The shot proved to be a deciding factor as the Thunder won 104-101 and now lead the series 3-0.
Durant finished with 41 points and 14 boards in 47 minutes of action. “I took Kevin out for 25 seconds,” Brooks said. “And I didn’t want to do that.” Indeed, KD put the performance we much expected but how long can he keep it up? Yes, it was the team’s first game with their spark plug point guard however someone will have to find their shots to assist Durant. Kevin Martin went 3-of-11 and Thabo Sefolosha (1-of-7) didn’t offer much assistance either. The Thunder will adjust, but will they do it in time to keep themselves competitive for the postseason?
For Houston, the game stands as another missed opportunity. The Rockets did a fair job of battling back and hitting open threes. But when the game was on the line, their turnover total slowly began to creep and, as it rose, their chances of winning fell. On the verge of getting swept, they’re still due at least one win because they haven’t played badly. But as we’ve seen across the board, nothing’s a given in this postseason.
Next Game: Monday, April 29 (9:30 EST, TNT)