Thunder Win Smackdown with Rockets
All we were missing Tuesday night was Michael Buffer asking 'Are you ready to RRRRRRUMBLE!!
In a basketball game suitable for the Octagon in an MMA bout the Thunder and Russell "The Kid" Westbrook took down the Rockets and Patrick "Bad Boy" Beverley, 106-98.
You had the feeling something was going to ignite between those two and just halfway through the first quarter it did
In a play that was déjà vu all over again, Westbrook called for a timeout near the sideline and Beverley zipped over and tried to take the ball away. It was almost exactly like the play that injured Westbrook in the playoffs last season.
This time Russ was hot but not hurt. He pushed Beverley away and Beverley pushed back hard. That drew a technical foul and led to a near brawl as coaches tried to pull players away from each other.
Just a minute later the two tangled again with Beverley trying to steal the ball from Westbrook, both players falling down and Beverley almost pinning Westbrook to the court. That move earned Beverley a foul and a nod from Westbrook.
From then on the fire was lit and the flame burned bright.
Kevin Durant showed more of that "Slim Reaper" side with four dagger 3-balls in the second half, two of them coming in the fourth quarter. KD finished with 42 points, his 11th 40 point game of the season and the 29th straight game in which he's scored at least 25. That matches his career-long streak.
The defense again showed fangs, holding Houston to 33 percent shooting in the first quarter and 35 percent in the first half. By the end of the game the number was 41.8, good enough that Scotty Brooks could breath a brief sigh of relief.
"It's a good feeling on what I can talk about, we don't have to get better on the defensive end tonight," he said grinning, "But we're still gonna work on it."
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka had his 23rd double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds, he also had four big blocks. And rookie Steven Adams controlled and frustrated Dwight Howard most of the game. Howard at one point was just 1-for-10.
The Thunder had lost five of their last eight coming in and were giving up 110 points game during that stretch. There had been times since the All-Star break that the Thunder looked defenseless in trying to stop teams from scoring.
"Tonight, the physicality the toughness we brought to the floor for 48 minutes makes us a good team," Brooks said. "I'm proud of our guys for fighting back right from the start."
Brooks mood changed when asked about the aggressive play of Beverley, especially the move on Westbrook in the first quarter.
"You guys saw the same thing I saw, there's not much else to say about it. I'm not worried about what they do or how they do it."
But Brooks clearly was riled up by the move during the game, which was chippy throughout. He even got into a shouting match with his former sixth man James Harden.
Harden had been fouled by Adams who draped an arm over Harden and seemed to accidentally pop him on the chin while trying to move his arm. The officials called a flagrant foul on Adams and Harden started chirping at the Thunder bench and Brooks in particular.
It wasn't clear what either said but after the game Brooks admitted, "my mom wouldn't have been proud of what I said."
But from what I've heard of Scotty's mom Lee, considering the circumstances, she'd of probably be just fine with it.