|Western Conference - Round 1 - Best of 7 - Game 3 - OKC Leads 2-0|
|Last 5 Games||4-1||+1.4||2-3||0-5||104.8||55.4||46.9%||51.4||94.6||48.8||40.5%||57.0|
|Team Stats (All Games)||105.9||53.9||38-79||48.1%||7-20||37.6%||22-27||82.8%||51||10||21||20||8||15||8|
|vs opponents surrendering||98.6||49.7||37-82||45.5%||7-20||36.0%||17-22||75.3%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Road Games)||103.0||52.3||37-79||46.6%||7-20||34.5%||22-27||82.2%||51||11||20||20||8||15||7|
|Stats Against (All Games)||96.5||47.7||36-85||42.4%||7-22||34.3%||17-22||77.3%||49||12||20||21||8||14||4|
|vs opponents averaging||98.5||49.5||37-82||45.3%||7-20||35.8%||17-22||75.1%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||97.5||48.1||37-86||43.2%||7-21||35.5%||16-21||77.4%||49||12||22||21||8||15||4|
|Last 5 Games||1-4||-5.8||2-3||2-3||104.2||55.0||43.5%||56.6||108.6||54.4||44.2%||56.2|
|Team Stats (All Games)||105.7||53.2||38-83||45.9%||11-29||36.3%||19-25||75.4%||52||11||23||20||8||16||4|
|vs opponents surrendering||98.2||49.3||37-82||45.2%||7-20||35.8%||17-22||75.3%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Home Games)||108.3||54.3||39-83||46.8%||10-28||37.1%||20-26||76.2%||53||11||24||19||8||15||5|
|Stats Against (All Games)||102.7||52.6||39-85||45.5%||8-22||36.7%||17-22||77.7%||50||11||23||20||8||14||6|
|vs opponents averaging||98.5||49.5||37-82||45.5%||7-20||35.9%||17-22||75.6%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||101.0||51.4||39-86||44.8%||8-22||38.2%||15-20||77.6%||50||10||22||21||8||15||6|
|Average power rating of opponents played: OKLAHOMA CITY 95.6, HOUSTON 96.1|
|4/11/2013||@ GOLDEN STATE||116-97||W||-4||W||204.5||O||42-83||50.6%||50||17||37-84||44.0%||51||16|
|4/27/2013||@ HOUSTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/29/2013||@ HOUSTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/17/2013||@ LA LAKERS||95-99||L||-1.5||L||206||U||35-84||41.7%||56||13||33-90||36.7%||68||12|
|4/21/2013||@ OKLAHOMA CITY||91-120||L||10.5||L||213.5||U||33-91||36.3%||52||15||44-83||53.0%||58||13|
|4/24/2013||@ OKLAHOMA CITY||102-105||L||11||W||213.5||U||36-91||39.6%||65||16||37-85||43.5%||47||12|
|4/27/2013||OKLAHOMA CITY|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/29/2013||OKLAHOMA CITY|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|OKLAHOMA CITY: GUARDS: RUSSELL WESTBROOK can do whatever he wants inside the arc and will continue to be a shoot-first point guard . . . JAMES HARDEN will likely keep coming off the bench, but he'll also keep playing starter's minutes . . . THABO SEFOLOSHA is OKC's best perimeter defender. But his role won't become more prominent until the postseason . . . ERIC MAYNOR should be just about all the way back from his torn ACL. When healthy, he's one of the league's best backup point guards . . . DAEQUAN COOK will see limited minutes as a three-point specialist . . . REGGIE JACKSON's role will shrink to near nothing if Maynor is healthy. FORWARDS: KEVIN DURANT continues to do it all, and has done nothing but steadily improve each season . . . SERGE IBAKA is obviously an elite shot-blocker, but he continues to get lost in space. He's made some strides as a pick-and-roll defender, but that weakness is why he doesn't play 30 minutes per night . . . NICK COLLISON will continue to steal a lot of Ibaka's minutes because he defends the pick-and-roll better, and because he draws so many charges, he's almost as good in help situations . . . PERRY JONES III is an incredible athlete, but needs a year or two to learn the game . . . LAZAR HAYWARD is back as a 12th man. CENTERS: KENDRICK PERKINS will continue to start, but is a part-time player. The Thunder are often better with a small lineup. While Perkins is a bruiser he is too easy to exploit as a defender in space . . . COLE ALDRICH could be ready for a slightly bigger role off the bench . . . HASHEEM THABEET is a reclamation project. There's a sliver of long-term hope, but he won't help this year.|
|HOUSTON: GUARDS: Houston has gutted its roster, and this is JEREMY LIN's team now. Coach Kevin McHale will use the same pick-and-roll offense he used with Goran Dragic, and Lin should do what he did in New York a year ago . . . KEVIN MARTIN is on the trade block. As long as he's in Houston, he'll be in and out of McHale's doghouse, especially seeing that he's not in the long-term plans . . . JEREMY LAMB should push Martin for minutes early. Lamb will have some defensive issues, but he's a cagey scorer who should mesh well with Lin . . . CARLOS DELFINO replaces Chase Budinger as the team's most reliable marksman from three-point range . . . TONEY DOUGLAS' defensive ability puts him in the running for a rotation spot . . . SHAUN LIVINGSTON can give them 12 to 15 minutes a night . . . Rookie SCOTT MACHADO, an outstanding passer, will back up Lin . . . GARY FORBES will have trouble finding minutes. FORWARDS: CHANDLER PARSONS was a nice surprise a year ago. He's a fifth option offensively but does the hustle/energy thing well . . . 2011 first-rounder DONATAS MOTIEJUNAS is a skilled 7-footer who fits with Lin. Expect him to grab a starting job by midseason, but he can also play center when required . . . This might be the year PATRICK PATTERSON makes an impact. His game is limited, but he can rebound and score around the basket . . . ROYCE WHITE is a 270-pounder with point guard skills. He needs the ball in his hands though, which is why he's not a great fit with Lin in the starting lineup . . . TERRENCE JONES has a tweener skill set. At this point, he's better suited for the second unit . . . Speaking of 'tweeners, MARCUS MORRIS looks to be nowhere near contributing. CENTERS: OMER ASIK earned his reputation as a defensive stud in Chicago, and he'll get a little more offensive freedom in Houston. He is quite foul-prone though, and he'll be tested on the free-throw line early and often . . . His backup, GREG SMITH, has more fouls (17) than points (14) in his 69-minute NBA career.|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW (OKLAHOMA CITY-HOUSTON) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Adds details, quotes. With AP Photos.)
*Thunder-Rockets Preview* =========================
By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer
Oklahoma City At Houston, Game Three, 9:30 p.m. EDT
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Rockets could be without starting point guard Jeremy Lin when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3 on Saturday night.
The Thunder definitely will be missing their point guard, with All-Star Russell Westbrook out indefinitely with a knee injury that will require surgery.
The Rockets hope Lin can return for the first playoff game in Houston since 2009. He missed practice on Friday due to a bruised chest muscle and is listed as day to day.
The Thunder lead the first-round series 2-0, but the injury to Westbrook, which occurred in the first half of Game 2, could change the complexion of the series. He averaged 24 points and 6 1/2 rebounds this postseason.
It's difficult to know just how Westbrook's absence will change the Thunder since he's never missed a game in his career. But it's probably safe to say superstar Kevin Durant, who is averaging 26.5 points in the series, will have to do even more than usual.
Durant said this will be his biggest challenge as the Thunder's leader.
"I've got faith in myself and our team," Durant said. "I know I can lead us. It's just a matter of me going out there and always being positive with the guys, always being encouraging ... I've been doing it all season. I've just got to rev it up a little bit more."
The Rockets expressed sadness at Westbrook's injury, but know his absence could benefit them.
"It can create a chance for us," Houston's Carlos Delfino said. "You never want anything bad to happen to people ... but we've got to win. If this creates a little window or opens the window a little more for us, that's welcome."
Westbrook, who has a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, was hurt when rookie Patrick Beverley tried for a steal in the second quarter and ran into his knee.
The Rockets went with a new-look lineup in Game 2 that gave Beverley his first start. Some have questioned whether the Westbrook was dirty on Beverley's part, but he insisted he would never try to hurt anyone.
"It's definitely unfortunate," he said. "I was definitely looking forward to playing Westbrook again and to get to battle again."
Beverley gave the Rockets a spark in Game 2, scoring 16 points as Houston bounced back from a blowout loss in the first game, but still fell short in a 105-102 Thunder win.
He knows some blame him for the injury and are trash talking him on Twitter, but said he isn't bothered by it. Beverley has dealt with adversity most of his life. He grew up in a tough neighborhood and wasn't even in the NBA a few months ago, instead playing in Russia.
"It was just hard trying to go to school some mornings growing up, so I can live through some Twitter beef," he said. "I've been in incidents in Europe where guys throw quarters at my face and I've got blood gushing down, so I'm kind of used to it. It wasn't intentional, he knows that and I know that."
Houston coach Kevin McHale loves Beverley's intensity and said he's successful in part because he plays equally as hard whether it's practice or a playoff game.
"He's just a little fighter," McHale said. "That's what you've got to have in our league. If you're going to win the biggest of games, you either better be feisty and tough like he is or just ultra, ultra, ultra talented and be the most talented guy on the floor, and it's hard to be that guy."
The Rockets haven't said whether they'll go with the three-guard lineup that they used in Game 2 on Saturday. But James Harden is hoping they do, saying he believes it's their best lineup and allows them to push the tempo.
Harden, who spent his first three NBA seasons with the Thunder, was upset upon about Westbrook's injury.
"Sad, sad story," Harden said. "That's one of my friends and just to see him out injured when he hadn't missed a game all career is definitely sad."
Harden said Westbrook's being out "changes a lot" and called him the Thunder's engine. Then he raved about backup Reggie Jackson, who'll likely take over for Westbrook in the starting lineup. Jackson, who is in his second year, averaged 5.3 points in the regular season and 7.5 in the first two playoff games.
"Reggie is definitely not a pushover," Harden said. "He's very talented, athletic and he's always going to work on his jump shot. He's going to make plays because he's so athletic. We definitely can't take him lightly at all."
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks wouldn't say if Jackson would start, but said he was definitely an option. The Thunder also have veteran guard Derek Fisher.
"Everybody's going to have to step up. That's the thing. Not one person," Brooks said. "Whoever I start, that's not going to be that person to play and be Russell Westbrook."
The Rockets are in the postseason after failing to qualify in the last three years. Guard Aaron Brooks is the only current player who was on the roster during Houston's last playoff trip.
McHale believes playing on the road first was a valuable experience for his team, and he's looking forward to seeing how his young team responds in front of what he expects to be an "electric" crowd.
"We're not a perfect team by any stretch of the imagination, but the guys will go out there and they'll fight you for it and that covers a lot of ground when you have guys that are willing to compete," he said.
|Last Updated: 9/18/2014 12:39:41 AM EST|