The Houston Rockets headed into game two of their playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder merely licking their wounds. Fresh off a 29 point shellacking by the Thunder in game one, the Rockets needed a competitive performance to prove to themselves and the rest of the league that they can give OKC a run for their money.
It seemed like Wednesday night was simply going to be a repeat of game one when the Rockets found themselves down 15 points midway through the fourth quarter. What happened instead was a furious Houston comeback that proved to be too little too late.
Houston lost game two by three points, but may have shifted the momentum slightly. They did many things right and showed that this Thunder squad is beatable.
The Rockets’ James Harden had a 36 point night, helped by a huge contribution from point guard Patrick Beverley. Beverley flourished in his new role as a starter, as he has grown accustomed to the majority of his minutes coming off the bench.
The Rockets do not have the look of a team that is content simply making the playoffs and being bounced early by a grossly favored Oklahoma City team. More playing time for Beverley is crucial to the success of this young group as Jeremy Lin has shown to be turnover prone and offensively ineffective. Changes must be made if Houston has any expectation of shocking the Thunder.
The Rockets seem poised and ready to show up in a big way in game three. Houston will continue to do things to frustrate the Thunder and look to make this a much more compelling series than anyone expected.