NBA Playoffs: Is the Stage Set for a Houston Rockets Comeback?

Andy HuSenior Writer IIApril 30, 2013

HOUSTON - APRIL 29:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets reacts after Houston takes the lead in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Toyota Center on April 29, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 105-103. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are down 3-1 in the first round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and no team has ever come back from 3-0 down.

However, is it possible for this Rockets team to be the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-0 deficit?

The Thunder lost their superstar point guard and a top ten player in the league in Russell Westbrook, and the following two games at Houston have been rough for the best team in the Western Conference.

In the last two games, the Rockets went 1-1, with both games coming down to the final shot of regulation. Kevin Durant hit a miraculous shot that bounced high off the back of the rim in Game 3, which sealed the victory for the Thunder. In Game 4, the Rockets team defense stopped any Durant penetration and Serge Ibaka ended up missing a wide open putback lay-up.

It's obvious that the Thunder miss Westbrook's presence, and the Rockets are taking full advantage of this opportunity.

The closely contested games at Houston is evident that the Rockets have a chance to extend this series to seven games.

Last year, we saw the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers knock off Chicago after the Bulls lost their superstar, Derrick Rose. Obviously the case is different here, as the Thunder are a much better team and still have the second best player in the world, but one player cannot carry the scoring load over a fast-paced team like the Rockets.

It's even more noticeable that Jeremy Lin has been out for most of the last two games, but mid-season acquisition Patrick Beverley has been making a name for himself in his first year in the league.

Beverley has been averaging 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the series thus far, and his admirable defensive play has certainly gave this team a lift since Lin went down.

It's debatable whether or not Lin provides the same value for the Rockets as Westbrook provides for the Thunder, but the absence of both starting point guards will make this series very interesting. It's still unclear if Lin will be available for the rest of the series, but we know that the Thunder will not have Westbrook.

The Rockets might not be able to extend the series to seven games, especially since two of the next three games will be at Oklahoma City. However, their chances of knocking out the Thunder are better than ever, and they should grasp at this opportunity when they have it.