|Western Conference - Round 1 - Best of 7 - Game 4 - OKC Leads 3-0|
|Last 5 Games||4-1||+1.4||2-3||0-5||104.4||57.6||44.3%||53.2||96.8||47.8||41.0%||57.6|
|Team Stats (All Games)||105.9||54.1||38-80||47.9%||7-20||37.6%||22-27||82.9%||51||10||21||20||8||15||8|
|vs opponents surrendering||98.7||49.7||37-82||45.5%||7-20||35.9%||17-22||75.3%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Road Games)||103.0||52.6||37-79||46.4%||7-20||34.7%||22-27||82.5%||51||11||20||20||8||15||7|
|Stats Against (All Games)||96.6||47.7||36-85||42.4%||8-22||34.2%||17-22||77.2%||49||12||20||21||8||14||4|
|vs opponents averaging||98.5||49.5||37-82||45.3%||7-20||35.7%||17-22||75.0%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||97.6||48.2||37-86||43.2%||8-21||35.3%||16-21||77.2%||49||12||22||21||8||14||4|
|Last 5 Games||0-5||-8||1-4||1-4||100.2||52.4||41.5%||56.4||109.4||58.8||44.1%||57.0|
|Team Stats (All Games)||105.7||53.2||38-83||45.8%||11-29||36.2%||19-25||75.3%||52||11||23||20||8||16||4|
|vs opponents surrendering||98.2||49.3||37-82||45.2%||7-20||35.7%||17-22||75.3%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Home Games)||108.1||54.2||39-83||46.7%||10-28||37.0%||20-26||76.0%||53||11||24||19||8||15||5|
|Stats Against (All Games)||102.7||52.8||39-85||45.4%||8-22||36.7%||17-22||77.9%||50||11||23||21||8||14||6|
|vs opponents averaging||98.5||49.6||37-82||45.5%||7-20||35.8%||17-22||75.7%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||101.1||51.7||38-86||44.7%||8-22||38.2%||16-20||78.2%||50||10||21||21||8||14||6|
|Average power rating of opponents played: OKLAHOMA CITY 95.7, HOUSTON 96.3|
|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|
|4/29/2013||@ 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|
|4/29/2013||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) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Thunder-Rockets Preview* =========================
By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer
Oklahoma City At Houston, Game Four, 9:30 p.m. EDT
HOUSTON (AP) -- Kevin Durant felt strange playing without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook for the first time in Game 3 against the Houston Rockets.
He did, however, enjoy handling the ball more in the point guard's absence.
Durant's 41 points helped the Thunder to the win on Saturday night. A victory on Monday would complete the four-game sweep and send them to the second round of the playoffs.
He broke into a huge grin when asked how it felt to run the offense without Westbrook, who had season-ending knee surgery Saturday.
"I tell you, it's fun," he said. "I feel like I'm playing street ball again, just having the ball in my hands all the time and initiating the offense."
The Rockets, of course, didn't share Durant's delight in having the ball more. Durant scored 27 points before halftime on Saturday as Oklahoma City built a huge lead.
Houston coach Kevin McHale alternated defenders Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia to try to slow him down, but knows they'll have to do better if they expect to win on Monday.
"It's more difficult," McHale said of dealing with Durant with Westbrook out. "But when he does give it up you've got to deny him and try to keep him from getting it. I thought (Garcia) did a better job of that. Chandler's got to do a better job of that. When he does finally give it up - thank goodness - letting him get it right back is not a very good option for us."
Though Durant tied a career high for points in the playoffs on Saturday night, he wasn't satisfied with his work. He had four turnovers in that game, which was his high in this postseason.
"I've got to make better decisions," he said. "I turned the ball over a few times and I think I should have made stronger passes. But it's a learning process so I've got to continue to keep working at it."
Coach Scott Brooks acknowledged that his staff was scrambling to adjust after Westbrook's injury and that they'll make some minor tweaks for Game 4.
"We don't want to change everything and throw so many things at guys and expect them to pick things up," he said. "We just want to do a few things. As the playoffs go on we can adjust more on the fly."
The Thunder are also focused on staying aggressive after being up by double digits in each of the past two games only to have Houston fight back to go on top in the fourth quarter.
Still, Durant said the team's ability to close out both of those games after losing the lead also shows the maturity of the Thunder.
McHale is proud of his young team for fighting back in the past two games. On Monday, he hopes the Rockets can get off to a good start so they don't find themselves playing catch-up the whole game.
"The last couple of games we put ourselves in position to win," McHale said. "(Monday) night we've got to put ourselves over the top and make them make big, big plays down the stretch."
The Rockets lament their missed chances in the past two games, but say the close calls gave them confidence that they can beat this team. They're undaunted by the fact that no NBA team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven playoff series.
"Eventually someone's going to do it," Parsons said. "So we've got a perfect opportunity to go out here and shock the world."
Houston could be without point guard Jeremy Lin on Monday. He missed the second half of Game 2 after bruising his chest muscle before returning on Saturday night. But he was largely ineffective in about 18 minutes and finished with just two points.
Lin said he was hurting on Sunday and didn't know if he'd be ready for Monday.
"That's a big decision for us to make," McHale said. "I know Jeremy really wants to play, but he could not do a lot of stuff last night. We're going to have to wait and see, because it doesn't do any good for him to play if he can't help us."
Though Durant carried the team on Saturday night, the Thunder also got a big contribution from Serge Ibaka, who finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
In the days leading up to Game 3, Brooks discussed the need for everyone to do a little more to make up for Westbrook being out. Ibaka did just that, making key plays down the stretch to help Oklahoma City secure the win.
"Serge had some very big moments last night, just his presence around the basket, his offensive rebounds, his shot-making ability," Brooks said. "He's understanding the game much more as the years have gone by ... his game last night, if we didn't have it it would have been a tough game for us to win."
|Last Updated: 12/20/2014 12:34:16 PM EST|