After another brutal start to the third quarter (18-4 Houston, even with Perkins sitting), Scott Brooks went to his bench crew. And they turned this game and series completely around, finishing the quarter on a 16-5 run and the game on a dominant 41-22 run. How about these plus/minuses? Nick Collison +20, Kevin Martin +25, Derek Fisher +32.
It was over when…
…Derek Fisher (yes, Derek Fisher) stepped on the Rockets throat, following up two cold-blooded fourth quarter threes with a steal and assist to Kevin Martin for a dunk to put OKC up 15 with four minutes left. Even the generally calm Scott Brooks couldn’t contain his joy, wildly hugging Fisher as he came to the sidelines when Houston, deflated and done, called a late timeout. I’ll let Russell take it from here:
Star of the game – Kevin Durant
One of his least-productive games in this series, from a scoring standpoint, but Durant was still his usual solid self. And because his teammates finally picked him up with a strong effort, KD was able to pick and choose his spots, usually the right spots, to take over in a variety of ways, finishing with 27 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block. He was tremendous in this series.
Unsung heroes – Plenty of them
-Derek Fisher: 11 enormous points in this game, 13/23 from three in the series
-Kevin Martin: A series-high 25 points in the closeout game, only his second 20+ point game since mid-February
-Reggie Jackson: Put up 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in a monster performance under pressure circumstances. Growing up before our eyes.
-Nick Collison: Finally got consistent playing time and did what you’ve come to expect him to do: 10 points, 9 boards in 22 minutes.
Stats of note
-Houston started the third on an 18-4 run. OKC ended it on a 16-5 run.
-Bench points: Thunder 46, Rockets 11
-OKC is 12-3 in first round games the past three seasons.
Because when you’re not going to be playing, you might as well get a workout in. Classic Perkins.
Quick turnaround: Thunder-Grizzlies Round 2 begins on Sunday at noon in OKC.