The story of this game is like the story of so many games: one team just played way better than the other. It’s no surprise, really, that the Rockets took advantage of home court and a superior roster to blow out the Thunder — they’ve been the better team all season and they’re playing with a chip on their shoulder. Game 1 at home didn’t seem a likely scene for a letdown. Despite the promise of fireworks between leading MVP candidates James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Rockets did what they were supposed to do: win the first game at home — 118-87.
Harden scored 37 but it was Patrick Beverley who made the difference. Beverly not only scored 21 points and grabbed ten boards but he hounded Westbrook into critical errors that kept OKC from finding a comfort zone. Beverley is known for his defensive prowess — he’s the best defender in the NBA by his own admission. But Beverley rose the the occasion in big way against Westbrook, forcing him into nine turnovers and 6-of-23 shooting. Houston outrebounded OKC 56-41.