Thunder looks to take control against Rockets, Nuggets gets knocked back by Warriors
Two of the top scoring teams in the NBA play in the Northwest division and both are in the middle of first round best of seven playoff series. The Oklahoma City Thunder were ranked No. 1 overall in the Western Conference and currently lead the Houston Rockets 1-0 after routing the Rockets in game one 120-91.
Denver is currently tied with the Golden State Warriors 1-1 in their best of seven series. Denver won game one 97-95, but the Warriors behind Stephen Curry routed the Nuggets in game two 131-117.
The Thunder looked impressive in their game one blowout against Houston. The Thunder had the lead up to as high as 35. However, the Thunder is on an emotional rollercoaster in their series with Houston. Facing them is one of the best friends in James Harden, who was traded just prior to the start of the season and has led the Rockets in scoring all season.
However, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant the two stars for the Thunder did not let their emotions take control. The two played exceptionally well. Durant scored 24 points, pulled down 6 boards and dished out 4 assists in just 34 minutes. Westbrook was just two rebounds shy of a triple double with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists in just 30 minutes of action.
Many fans look at Oklahoma City as just a high-powered offensive unit, but its defense led by Serge Ibaka and Westbrook has come up big this season. Westbrook held the Rockets’ point guard Jeremy Lin to just 4 points and 4 assists in game one.
Unless the Thunder has a complete mental and emotional breakdown, this series could be getting the broom out with a 4-0 sweep. Game two is Wednesday and the Thunder will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead to Houston.
The Denver Nuggets finished the regular season as the No. 3 seed in the conference and are currently in a tough battle with the Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets won the first game of the series, while the Warriors lost David Lee their leading rebounder and second leading scorer to a torn hip flexor muscle.
Many felt the Warriors’ season was lost when Lee went down, but the team came back with grit and determination and won game two by 14 points. Denver must come up with an answer to the long distance shooting of the Warriors. Stephen Curry ended the game with 30 points hitting on 40% of his three point shots. The Warriors overall hit on 14 of their 25 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc to account for 42 of their 131 points.
The Nuggets defense needs to step up a notch. Offensively the Nuggets have one of the best teams in the league on transition and can score with anyone. However, their defense is suspect and without injured Danilo Gallinari in the lineup, the team lacks rebounding and defense.
Both the Northwest division teams should advance to the second round of the playoffs, but their opponents will do anything and everything possible to stop them.