In game two the Houston Rockets withstood Russell Westbrook’s biggest punch and his 51 point night is enough to knock out about 90% of the team’s in the NBA.
While Westbrook’s haymaker was enough to make the Rockets dizzy, he, nor his team was able to land another blow and keep them on the mat.
The Rockets laid in the weeds and once Westbrook was tired, they landed the 1-2-3 of Lou Williams, Nene and Eric Gordon and put away the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-111.
The Thunder did everything they could to try and beat the Rockets, they had more rebounds, more second chance points, more fastbreak points, fewer turnovers, and coach Billy Donovan tried every lineup he could to find a spark… Alas, the only thing the Thunder couldn’t solve was what happens when Westbrook goes to the bench.
“We haven’t played our best yet,” James Harden said after the game two win.
Harden isn’t wrong either and despite not playing a complete game the Rockets hold a commanding 2-0 lead.
So with the series heading to Oklahoma City here are some thoughts on game three.
1) Victor Oladipo to the bench
The two biggest takeaways from game two is Westbrook doesn’t have enough help and the team can’t score when he needs rest.
So moving Oladipo to the second unit gives them a little more punch off the bench and it gives him a chance to run an offense without having to defer to Westbrook, which could help him get hot.
Placing Doug McDermott into the starting lineup gives the Thunder some much-needed space and someone that will just take jumper three’s.
2) Play Clint Capela more.
Capela is like a flower, and like a flower thirsts for sunlight, he is thirsting for more playing time. It feels like Capela is on the verge of breaking out and really becoming a boss.
In game two he was all over the place. Capela on switches he would find himself guarding Westbrook and held his own, in the paint he blocked four shots and changed countless more.
To put it simply, he was a force.
The problem is Nene is destroying guys on the offensive side of the ball when he’s in the game. Capela and Nene played nearly the same amount of minutes in game two. That’s not awful but Capela should really have the minutes edge.
3) Make Westbrook beat you
Westbrook had 51 points in game two, and they lost… It may not be fun to see him score 100 points, but if he does and no one else shoots the ball and you still put up 101 points, that’s a win. Through two games so far Westbrook is shooting 35%, that’s not going to beat you if Westbrook ever figures out he can pass and score that might be a problem, but right now keep letting him go bananas as long as no one else is too.