With 4.8 seconds left in the second quarter Sunday night and the Thunder about to close out the first half with a 14-1 run against Houston, former OKC guard James Harden took the in-bound pass, dribbled the length of the court and converted a layup with 0.3 seconds left against his former teammates.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks was livid.
He spun around and appeared ready to slap the padding atop the nearby scorer's table in disgust.
The normally calm Brooks was quickly able to recompose himself, perhaps after realizing his team was still leading by 13 points (60-47).
By the end of the third quarter, OKC had built its lead to 23 (89-66).
With 3:50 left in the game and nothing but inexperience playing on the court, the Thunder's advantage peaked at 35 (115-80).
OKC wasn't perfect throughout its 120-91 victory over the Rockets in Game 1, but there were times the performance sure didn't seem to be lacking much.
Thunder players and coaches are well-aware Sunday's triumph counts as just one victory in the best-of-7 series; that no points carry-over to Game 2 at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena; that the NBA playoffs essentially are match play in golf, where all that matters is forgetting about the last hole and winning the next one.
OKC did plenty right before a national television audience on TNT and an appreciative sellout crowd of 18,203 on Sunday night, but it didn't do everything right.
So how reasonable is it for a coach to expect or demand the same kind of performance the next game and beyond?
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