During the first timeout of Game 5 on Wednesday night, injured Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook was shown on the scoreboard screen at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Sitting in a suite and wearing the same blue T-shirt fans in attendance were provided, the sellout crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena erupted as Westbrook smiled and waved. Westbrook then waved both arms for more crowd noise, and got it.
Westbrook suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee in the second quarter of Game 2 after colliding with Houston point guard Patrick Beverley while timeout was being called. Westbrook had surgery last Saturday and will miss the remainder of the season.
As expected, Beverley was heavily booed during pregame introductions prior to the Rockets' 107-100 victory.
Beverley also was booed every time he touched the ball, which was frequent given that he's a point guard.
Boos directed at Metta World Peace last year were louder, probably because many fans realize Beverley did not intentionally injure Westbrook, while MWP elbowed James Harden flush across the face and served a seven-game suspension.
Thunder players certainly haven't forgotten what Beverley did, however.
With 5:40 left in the first quarter and Beverley attempting to call timeout, OKC starting point guard Reggie Jackson, the man who replaced Westbrook, slapped at the ball.
A frustrated Beverley threw the ball at Jackson and was slapped with a technical foul.
DRAW THE LINE
Golden State coach Mark Jackson on Tuesday said Denver had gone “over the line” with its physical play during the Nuggets' victory in Game 5 at Pepsi Center.
Houston coach Kevin McHale, a Hall of Famer who won three world championships with the Boston Celtics in the 1980s, was asked to compare the current physicality of play to when he was a player.
“Night and day,” McHale said. “It was completely different. I'm not sure there actually was an ‘over the line' in the playoffs. How can there be? You don't like them, they don't like you, so why would there be? Who's making these lines? I liked it when there were no lines. Just go play.”
30 FOR 30
Thunder coach Scott Brooks mentioned several times his team needed to defend better, continually pointing to the 30-point mark by an opponent as indicating his defense needed improvement.
The Rockets twice topped the mark in Game 5, scoring 30 in the first quarter and coming back with 37 more in the third.
The only other time the Rockets had scored 30 in two quarters in one game against the Thunder this year was during a 122-119 victory on Feb. 20 in Houston, where the Rockets overcame a 14-point deficit with seven minutes remaining in the game.
LIN STILL OUT
Rockets guard Jeremy Lin missed his second consecutive game with a bruised chest muscle.
Lin was 1 of 7 from the floor in Game 3 playing with the injury. He aggravated it in the second quarter of that game when Kevin Durant went after the ball as Lin called a timeout.