For one game, the Houston Rockets were just fine without Russell Westbrook. On Tuesday, the Rockets beat the Thunder in every facet of the game en route to a 123-108 victory to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round series.
With Westbrook out with a quad strain, Harden was sensational with 37 points and 11 rebounds on 12-of-22 shooting, including 6-of-13 from beyond the arc, and the Rockets had five players score in double figures. In addition to Harden, Jeff Green was superb, finishing with 22 points. Eric Gordon had 21, Ben McLemore had 14 and P.J. Tucker added 11.
Houston made 20 3-pointers as a team, outscoring OKC by 21 from deep.
Danilo Gallinari led the Thunder with 29 points, while Chris Paul fell one assist shy of a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine dimes — but a lot of Paul’s scoring came when the game had already gotten away in the second half. OKC looked dead on both ends, and will have to figure out how to move the ball better to crack Houston’s defense, which was tremendous all night.