James Harden did his best Michael Jordan impersonation while scoring 31 points with flu-like symptoms to sink his former team and give the Houston Rockets a chance to completely dig out of an 0-3 hole. Harden nailed seven 3-pointers in a win that will push the series to six games as it shifts back to Houston and now the Oklahoma City Thunder players are realizing just how difficult life is without Russell Westbrook.
Say what you want about the Thunder’s polarizing point guard, but Westbrook’s absence is killing Oklahoma City and Harden is taking advantage. The Rockets are looking to become the first team to win a playoff series after going down 0-3 and with all the momentum in their favor, the next game at home, Harden on fire and Westbrook in street clothes, the Thunder could become just the third No. 1 seed in history to down against a No. 8 seed. A shadow has darkened the panic button in Oklahoma City.
Game 6 of this increasingly exciting series will be played in Houston on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Central Time with the Rockets looking to force a Game 7 in what has become arguably the most intriguing first-round series of the postseason. Of course, it’s safe to say the Thunder likely would have swept the Rockets had Westbrook not torn a meniscus in his right knee. No excuses, right?