2013 NBA Playoffs: Oklahoma City Thunder Finding Positives in Sloppy Victory
Great teams have a tendency of pulling out victories on off nights. Late in the second half of game 2, the Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 15 point lead to the Houston Rockets; but just like a great team does, the Thunder were able to get the win to take a 2-0 series lead.
The Thunder knew that the Rockets would make adjustments after being blown out in game 1 by 29 points. What the Thunder were not expecting was that they would be facing the possibility of going 1-1 in their first two games at home.
The weird thing is that the game 2 victory might be more valuable than the game 1 as the Thunder move forward. They now have the experience of closing out a game that goes to the wire in the playoffs. After all, if the Thunder makes an eventual run to the NBA Finals, they certainly will not win every game by 20-plus points.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were the Thunder’s scoring leaders in the game with 29 points apiece, but other Thunder players oddly carried the fourth quarter.
Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka hit two big time shots in the closing minutes of the game that gave the Thunder a small cushion going into the final minute. Of the 27 fourth quarter points by the Thunder, players outside of Westbrook and Durant scored 17.
Rockets’ James Harden scored a team-high 36 points in the game, but it came from 9-24 shooting from the field. Most of his points came from the free throw line. He was able to draw a lot of fouls by driving into defenders while going to the hoop.
The Thunder’s key to the series is limiting Harden from the field. They were somewhat successful in their game 2 victory, but certainly need to limit his free throw attempts in the upcoming games.
The biggest thing to take from the Thunder’s game 2 victory: The Thunder are very capable of finding ways to win — even on an off night.
Game 3 is Saturday in Houston at 9:30 ET.