It didn't take long in Game 3 for Thunder enforcer Kendrick Perkins to send a message to Patrick Beverley about causing Russell Westbrook's season-ending knee injury in Game 2.
On OKC's first trip down court and with Beverley pressuring replacement point guard Reggie Jackson in the back court, Perkins set a hard pick at midcourt and Jackson drove Patrick right into it.
Perkins was called a foul and didn't argue. The entire Houston bench reacted angrily and started taunting Perkins, which drew a technical foul on the bench.
The Rockets jumped out to a 9-3 lead. The Thunder promptly countered with a 20-2 run and held on in the end for a 104-101 victory.
In Game 2, OKC was out-rebounded 57-40 and gave up 18 offensive rebounds to Houston.
After the first quarter of Game 3, the Thunder led 13-2 in rebounds.
For the game, OKC out-rebounded the Rockets 49-41 overall and 13-5 at the offensive end. Kevin Durant led the way with 14 boards, Serge Ibaka had 11 and guard Thabo Sefolosha had nine.
A sellout crowd of 18,163 at Toyota Center booed Thunder veteran guard Derek Fisher heartily, remembering last season when he was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Rockets and refused to play in Houston.
Two days after the Rockets waived him, Fisher signed with the Thunder.
Fisher quieted the crowd by scoring nine points, which included converting two free throws with 12.5 seconds left to give OKC a 102-99 lead.
Due in part to heavy rain in the area, the crowd was slow to arrive. Seats didn't fill up until midway through the second quarter. … Houston forward Greg Smith did not play because of stomach distress. … Beverley, who had 16 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2, had six points, two rebounds and five fouls in Game 3. … The Thunder won despite shooting 37.9 percent from the field for the game. It actually finished with a higher percentage from 3-point range (38.5 percent). … OKC outscored Houston 18-9 in second-chance points, but was outscored 42-30 in the paint and 17-6 in fast-break points.
LeBron James of the Miami Heat on Westbrook being lost for the season after knee surgery: “It sucks. He's a guy who's never missed a game his whole life. We're not just talking about the NBA. He's never missed a game in high school, college or Little League. It's unfortunate, especially for a great player like him, seeing how hard he works, especially being with the Olympic team. It's unfortunate. Hopefully, he has a speedy recovery.”