West Playoff Preview: Rolling Thunder


Will Harden have his revenge? Will Durant take on the personality of a Super Star or will he continue to let Westbrook take shots from him. The Rockets have been that just good enough team all year. With rising star Harden and x-factor Jeremy Lin the Rockets were more like the Bottle Rockets this year. Exciting at first but depressing when it’s all done. The Thunder on the other hand are the Heat of the West, fast, powerful, and accurate. The Thunder were lacking this year without Harden on their team and even though their season looked grim several time throughout the year they still managed to get the number one seed, with help from the Spurs I’ll remind you.


The Rockets will space the floor and make 20 three-pointers a game. Harden will outplay both Durant and Westbrook. Jeremy Lin will put on a two-week spectacular that may trump anything he did during Linsanity. In all seriousness, the Rockets won’t be able to defend the Thunder, but they can easily run with them and score with them. They should be able to steal a game or two, thanks to their speed and three-point shooting, and Harden proved he can close playoff games. Harden suffered through a brutal Finals with Oklahoma City last year, scoring 12.4 points on 37 percent shooting, and now he’s back in another post-season pressure cooker.


The Thunder lost Harden early this season but they didn’t miss him, scoring more points in his absence, sinking more free throws and handing out more assists. Without Harden, Durant and Westbrook have taken more shots, and neither did. They have become more selective with their shots. Durant has decided to be a passer and more determined defender. Their teammates have followed their lead and the Thunder don’t play as much one-on-one as they once did. The Oklahoma City core has been together five years, preparing for this moment. They won’t allow for a first-round upset.

Game 1: Sun., April 21, Rockets at Thunder, 9:30   p.m., TNT


Game 2: Wed., April 24, Rockets at Thunder, 7 p.m.,   TNT


Game 3: Sat., April 27, Thunder at Rockets, 9:30   p.m., ESPN


Game 4: Mon., April 29, Thunder at Rockets, TBD,   TBD


*Game 5: Wed., May 1, Rockets at Thunder, TBD, TBD


*Game 6: Fri., May 3, Thunder at Rockets, TBD, TBD


*Game 7: Sun., May 5, Rockets at Thunder, TBD, TBD


Thunder in 6


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