Game 5 of the Thunder-Rockets series was all Houston, as the Rockets ran away with a 114-80 win to take a 3-2 series lead on OKC after having dropped back-to-back games.
While it was a blowout that was never really close in the second half, it wasn’t without a moment of controversy. P.J. Tucker and Dennis Schröder were both tossed from the game in the third quarter after an incident that saw Schröder run into a Tucker screen and hit him with a low blow that infuriated Tucker and led the forward to headbutt Schröder from behind in frustration. Schröder was assessed a Flagrant 2 and tossed, while Tucker earned his second technical and likewise was sent to the showers early.
On Sunday, Schröder addressed the incident, calling it “unfortunate” and insisting it wasn’t intentional, while admitting he understood why it looked bad.
Dennis Schroder explaining his Flagrant 2 low blow on PJ Tucker said it wasn't intentional: pic.twitter.com/1CUavxqfKV
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) August 30, 2020
The way Schröder reacted in shock to Tucker’s response indicates he is either an exceptionally good actor or that he is telling the truth, because he was stunned when Tucker approached him from behind in anger. At the same time, the Thunder don’t get much of anything in the way of benefit of the doubt for such antics, given the Rockets were already mad about the lack of investigation by the league into a Chris Paul low blow from Game 3. As such, Schröder was tossed and a testy series between two very familiar rivals only gets more tense going into a potentially decisive Game 6.