John Rohde: Rockets are one of the least physical teams in the West

The Oklahoman's John Rohde took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder/NBA Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of the Q&A.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: April 24, 2013 at 9:34 am •  Published: April 24, 2013
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The Oklahoman's John Rohde took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder/NBA Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of the Q&A:
John Rohde 10:56 a.m. Five minutes to post and seven hours till tip. I'm ready for some questions.
Nostradamas 11:02 a.m. Predictions: Thunder win comfortably by 9 tonight, will win both in Houston with games being much, much more competitive (1-3 pts the difference). Series sweep.
John Rohde 11:04 a.m. Possibly. I picked the Thunder in 5 and I'll stick with that. Houston will catch fire in one game and win a close one -- just like in the regular-season series.
Jay 11:04 a.m. Who plays for the Thunder. Its been so long since they played, I forgot. Too many days between games.
John Rohde 11:06 a.m. Tell me about it. Game 1 feels like a week ago. I believe OKC won big in the one. This is why benches get shorter in the playoffs. Plenty of rest.
Matt 11:06 a.m. What changes can houston make to beat okc
John Rohde 11:07 a.m. Rumor has it they might start Delfino in place of Smith. Doesn't matter. The Rockets don't have enough no matter who starts.
Ashwin 11:07 a.m. I feel like Serge Ibaka should be taking more shots in these playoffs, between 10-15 shots every game I'd say. He is very efficient and whenever he scores close to 20 points or more, we always seem to win. What do you think?
John Rohde 11:09 a.m. Agree with every word. If Serge is a threat, everyone else becomes more effective. Ditto for Martin. When Serge and K-Mart disappear is when things become noticeably more difficult for KD and Russ.
Matt 11:09 a.m. On a scale of 1-10, how good is KD?
John Rohde 11:12 a.m. In general, probably around 9 to 9.5. As far as his overall potential, probably around a 6 or 7. KD is not done getting better, not even close. One of the things he does somewhat poorly is use his screens properly. When he becomes more consistent in that regard, what he could achieve might be astonishing.
Chester 11:12 a.m. Russ us better the CP3
John Rohde 11:13 a.m. No. Not yet, anyway. But the gap has narrowed considerably the last three seasons.
Mike 11:13 a.m. Westbrook has seemed to take his game to anoter level for the past few months. He's still one of the most, if not the most, athletic players in the game, but he seems to have figured out pace now which makes him dang near unguardable. Is there any team in the West that has an answer for him?
John Rohde 11:17 a.m. Clippers. Spurs. Grizzlies. Nuggets. Not that they have an answer to stop Westbrook, but they all have a counter. They all have terrific point guards in their own way. The Grizzlies do it mainly with team defense. Will these teams stop Westbrook? No, but they can counter him.
Frank 11:17 a.m. Watching the other games it's getting pretty rough down in the paint. It looks like the refs are letting them play through
John Rohde 11:19 a.m. The Rockets are one of the least physical teams in the West. It showed in Game 1 and will continue to show throughout the series. Houston's only hope is a track meet, which is what they'll try to do tonight. If they get drubbed in a fast-faced game again tonight, it could be extremely demoralizing.
Ashwin 11:19 a.m. Westbrook has been averaging close to same figures that Rose had in his MVP season. Yet he still gets loads of criticism for his shot selection although its improved a lot. He has few TOs, more assists and has been rebounding better too. Definitely should be getting more credit?
John Rohde 11:22 a.m. No question. Absolutely. I thought that two years ago, and I think that today. Westbrook's imperfections get far more attention than what he does well. It's not right. It's not fair. But if you'll notice, it slowly is evolving in the opposite direction, which is why Westbrook received serious consideration for first-team All-NBA this season.
Steve 11:22 a.m. who will thunder play to get to the finals?
John Rohde 11:25 a.m. Get to play or HAVE to play? OKC is 11 wins short of making the Finals, and I believe this year's path is far more difficult than last year because the Nuggets, Clippers, Grizzlies and Warriors all got better. Conventional wisdom has the Heat winning again. I picked the Knicks to advance to the Finals, so please don't make fun of me until they're eliminated.
Ashwin 11:25 a.m. Serge Ibaka has been the leading shot-blocker in the NBA for 3 seasons in a row now, yet has not won the Defensive player of the year. Not this time either, as its come out that Marc Gasol has won it. I'm dumbfounded. Is Perk right? Too much politics in NBA?
John Rohde 11:30 a.m. Ibaka has led the league in total blocks for three straight seasons and has won the blocked shot title (blocks per game) the last two seasons. Yes, Perk is right. There's too much politics in the NBA. That being said, I voted for Gasol (don't tell Perk). Ibaka will win the award someday and him not winning this season will make him the preseason favorite next year because voters will feel he is overdue. There, see how poilitics can work in your favor?
tom 11:30 a.m. Is the attitude and demeanor of this team different than it was at this time last year?
John Rohde 11:32 a.m. No question. OKC was focused last season, but had something to prove last season. As a proven contender this season, their attitude appears to be championship or bust. Make no mistake. This group is zeroed in.
That's all the time I have. Thanks for the great questions. Remember, tonight tip is at 6 -- not 7 or 8:30 or midnight.

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