WESTERN CONFERENCE Rockets withstand Westbrook's haul

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets live stream: Where to watch NBA Playoffs online

There are plenty of other problems for Oklahoma City - the Thunder fall apart when Westbrook rests, the team has struggled to keep James Harden off the foul line, Steven Adams' foul trouble crippled their interior defense in Game 2 and they are stretched thin chasing Houston's numerous perimeter threats. The second leading scorer for OKC last night was Anthony Roberson, who only managed 12. It took Westbrook 43 shots to tally those 51 points, so he only made 39.5 percent of his attempts. In addition, Lou Williams has already scored 16 points coming from the bench. He is averaging six rebounds in the two games and has been one of OKC's better defenders.

Also during the final 2 minutes and 30 seconds that Westbrook sat in the third quarter, the Rockets went on a 12-3 run to cut the lead to three points. "We lost." Ouch! But while Russell was hard on himself for letting the team go home with a 2-0 series hole, fans were going insane on Twitter over his fantastic accomplishment!

It makes sense. They have a lot in common numbers wise; and at one point both of these guys were on the same team from 2009 to 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westbrook doesn't have a capable wingman, or at least not one he trusts, which is why he jacks up 40 shots on any given night. The Thunder lengthened their bench, looking for combinations - and perhaps just extra bodies to throw at the historically good Houston offense. He may not have won the game for his team on Wednesday.

It was in the 2nd where the Rox got to work and closed the gap to by as much as three points, when Patrick Beverley hit a three-ball to trail 43-40. Kyle Singler played 10 minutes and score 0 points.

That specific answer was in reference to a high-volume game Westbrook had against Phoenix at the beginning of the season. "I can't explain it; they've done it all year". This was just an unbelievable performance!' And 'Is he the best closer in the game?' And then when they don't go in, it's gonna be, 'Did he take too many shots?' Oklahoma City shot 37% from the field for the game.

A basketball purist may complain how Westbrook marred the fourth quarter, but those two teams dueling was peak entertainment.

Russell Westbrook was also another thing that went right.

If the Thunder want to regain some control in the series, the defensive-minded Gibson must play more, especially if the alternative option is Grant at center (the Thunder were outscored by 20 points while Grant was on the floor). The Thunder had multiple chances to win this game tonight.

At times it has appeared that there was no place Westbrook could not carry the Thunder. The Rockets shot just 11-for-29 from three-point range (well below their season average), but it ultimately didn't matter. It's a small miracle - and a credit to Westbrook's elite talent - OKC even made it to the playoffs, much less the 6-seed in a jam-packed Western Conference. The Thunder guard feels like a return home can energize the Thunder. He'll miss Game 3 again, but Utah did prove they can win without him thanks to Joe Johnson's game-winning floater in Game 1. If he is unable to do so, his season will be over in the next three games.



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