The Houston Rockets accomplished the unthinkable. They walked into Chesapeake Energy Arena and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 107-100, Wednesday night, forcing a Game 6 in Houston on Friday.
The Rockets were led by a ridiculously efficient performance from James Harden, with 31 points, eight rebounds and three assists, while shooting 10-of-16 from the field and 7-of-9 from beyond the arc.
It undoubtedly had more than a few Thunder fans shaking their heads, saying what a huge mistake it was to trade him in the first place.
While Kevin Durant led with 36 points, he went scoreless in the fourth quarter, after dropping 18 in the third. The technical he picked up with under 30 seconds left in the game showed the kind of frustrating night he had.
Omer Asik had a dominant performance with 21 points and 11 rebounds, including a 13-of-18 shooting night from the charity stripe.
James Harden was ridiculously efficient in the first half, scoring 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
He didn't do it alone, though, as Francisco Garcia rose to the occasion in place of the injured Jeremy Lin, accounting for 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the first two quarters.
Things were chippy in the first half, with Patrick Beverly picking up a technical foul after he shoved Reggie Jackson for trying to steal the ball as he called a timeout.
The refs did a solid job of getting things under control however, calling technicals when needed and warning the players and coaches at appropriate times as well.
Kevin Durant was doing it all by himself to start the game, with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field before halftime.
Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka added 14 points between them, but they shot 5-of-14 from the field.
The Rockets picked up where they left off in the third quarter, just abusing the Thunder out of the gate.
Kevin Durant wasn't about to let the Rockets just run away with a win on his home floor. He dropped 18 points in the third quarter alone, with much of that production coming when Francisco wasn't guarding him.
Unfortunately OKC, it just wasn't enough, as the rest of his teammates just didn't step up and, for once, the Rockets actually played solid and disciplined defense.
Reggie Jackson ended the night with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, but most of his production came late in the fourth quarter when the Rockets weren't bringing any help-side defense, instead focusing their defensive efforts on Durant.
While the Thunder lost by just seven points, this one wasn't that close. The Rockets absolutely owned the Thunder Wednesday night, and it has to have everyone in OKC nervous, as thoughts of a possible Game 7 are sure to be on many minds.
This one had an interesting feel, with police officers out in full force to protect Patrick Beverley after some moronic Thunder fans made serious-sounding threats against him.
Also count 12 policemen in uniform on Rockets' side of floor as they go thru pre-game warmups. Even tho Pat Beverley NOT on floor. Twelve— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 2, 2013
Watching James Harden play when he is at his best is a thing of beauty, and it looks like he's finally letting go of his overcompensating desire to prove the Thunder wrong—at least according to Skip Bayless.
James Harden has finally forgotten about proving something to the team that traded him, he has relaxed and he's having a James Harden game.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 2, 2013
The Thunder just couldn't find their stroke from deep, shooting just 8-of-33 from three for the contest.
The Thunder shot 1-of-12 (8.3%) on 3-pointers in the 1st half. They haven't shot that low a 3-point percentage in any game this season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 2, 2013
James Harden's replacement had an awful night, ending with three points on 1-of-3 shooting.
#Thunder G Kevin Martin (0-7 from the field) is inventing a new phrase tonight: you miss 100% of the shots you take— NOT SportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) May 2, 2013
Beverley, a.k.a the Thunder's most hated enemy, had an impressive night with 14 points and eight rebounds.
After three quarters, James Harden had 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and Kevin Durant had 36. The fourth-quarter battle ensued and Harden won, with three more points than Durant's fourth quarter total of zero.
Kevin Durant vs. James Harden. Fourth-quarter shootout. Here we go.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 2, 2013
Kevin Durant's impressive numbers all being for naught has Bill Simmons drawing parallels to LeBron James' time in Cleveland. It begs the question of whether Durant can get it done without Russell Westbrook.
I keep waiting for LeBron to tweet, "Hey KD, now you know why I went to Miami."— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 2, 2013
The Thunder went to a "Hack-A-Asick" defense under six minutes, and Omer Asik made them pay, shooting 8-of-12 in that spell.
I hate the intentional fouling. Way to stop it make them 3 to make 2 and possession.Will never happen again. #nbaplayoffs— MikeTirico (@miketirico) May 2, 2013
Props to the Houston Rockets. They are the youngest team in the playoffs, but they certainly don't play like it. They have a bright future.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 2, 2013
The Rockets are showing the entire league that they are a team with heart and won't be an easy out for anyone. Oh, and don't forget, Jeremy Lin didn't even play in this one.