Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets series came down to Game 7 following OKC’s 104-100 win tonight. Once again, the boys in blue managed to come back and erase the deficit in the series, and that happened because of two persons – Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
The first one was leading the Thunder to a comeback after a deficit they had in the third sequence. Paul scored two free throws with 13.1 seconds to go, for a 102-100 lead. Also, before that, he sunk two back-to-back long-distance hits, which saw the OKC catching up the Rockets and getting back into the game completely.
“When it gets to clutch time, 4th quarter, some people built for it. Some people shy away from it,” CP said, adding that he and his teammates just wanted a chance, and that after this win, they got one.
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Paul ended the night with 28 points, 10-for-20 from the field, had seven boards, three assists, and steals each. The veteran point guard spent 40 minutes on the floor.
Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook would like to forget tonight’s performance as soon as possible. The 2017 MVP was terrible in the decisive moments, making turnovers, and missing open shots. That is making airballs. With the game on the line, all critical criticals plays were ruined by the Rockets’ guard, who was unrecognizable tonight.
“That’s just my fault. Honestly. That’s easy. Last game I had 0. Tonight I had 7. Simple as that,” he stated.
Along with 7 lost possessions, he had 17 points, four boards, and three assists, but his contribution was pretty much negative throughout the entire game. We can’t tell whether it was because of rust or something else, but such and performance came in the worst possible moment.
James Harden couldn’t do everything on his own, with the Beard dropping 32 points, 11-for-22, but making three threes in 11 shots. NBA’s top-scorer had eight boards and seven assists as well, and he too slowed down in the last few minutes, even though he played well before that.
Robert Covington had 18 points and five steals and boards, recording another good match. House Jr. scored 12 off the bench, and PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon had 9 each.
On the other side, Paul had massive help from Danilo Gallinari. The Italian veteran scored 25 points with 5 rebounds and two steals. He was shooting 9-for-17 and had four three-pointers delivered. Gallinari wasn’t in the middle of attention as Paul, but each time OKC needed a basket and CP wasn’t in the position to score, the Italian would jump in and take matters in his hands.
Luguentz Dort contributed with 13 buckets, Shroder with 12 and 8 boards, Gilgeous-Alexander with 10. Steven Adams had 6 but with 14 rebounds, from which 9 were offensive.
Head coach Billy Donovan was thrilled with how his team behaved in a very tough position, praising Paul and his performance.
“He made some incredible plays to carry our team. He’s got unbelievable basketball IQ. He’s got a great will to win. When you have a guy with that kind of mind… he was spectacular,” Donovan explained.
The final game of the series is set for Wednesday night. Unlike the Eastern Conference where all the first-round matchups ended pretty quickly, the situation in the West is much different. Besides the OKC vs. Houston series, Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz will also play Game 7. That match is this Tuesday.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.