West champs survive Rockets scare.

Two of the youngest teams in the NBA went to war as the top seed in the West and the reigning Western Conference Champions Oklahoma City Thunder survive a late push by the eight seeded Houston Rockets after a series which saw the Thunder up 3-0, the Rockets winning two straight before the Thunder wrapped them up in six games on the road.

Photos ©NBA
 
The Rockets came into the season as the youngest team in the NBA with the players averaging 25 years of age. They also underwent a major roster overhaul during the off-season and during the regular season itself. Coming into the playoffs, Only two players remained from the Rockets roster last year. Chandler Parsons who have stepped up big during his sophomore campaign this season and Greg Smith who have become servicable throughout the season. Talking more about the major overhaul, they brought in a big fish in James Harden who has turned himself from a sixth man in Oklahoma City to the face of the Rockets franchise. They also brought in Jeremy Lin coming off from his Linsanity days in New York. As well as other players like Omer Asik, Carlos Delfino, Francisco Garcia, Aaron Brooks (Brooks, a relic from the Rockets’ last playoff run in 2009) and Patrick Beverley. Down 0-3 in the series, everyone else thought it would end in a sweep. However, they pushed the series to six games before bowing out at home in Game 6.
 
As for the Thunder, who are gunning for a season of redemption after losing to the Heat in the NBA Finals last season, their road back to the Finals hit a roadblock during this series as their spark plug All-Star point guard in Russell Westbrook went down with an injury after Game 2 that put him out of commission for the rest of the playoffs. Now, the focus is now on Kevin Durant who scored well in the series and is the leading scorer in this year’s playoffs so far. But Durant can’t do it alone, he must find other options on offense. Players like Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin, Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher should step up offensively if the Thunder would have a shot on winning the championship. Aside from the usual defensive presence of Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison. The Thunder may have survived this series, but their road to redemption will get tougher with each game that come along.
 
The Thunder will face the fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies who stunned the Los Angeles Clippers in six games setting up a rematch between the two teams in the second round who last fought in 2011.
 
As for the Rockets, though their season ended in a bitter defeat, with a lot of cap space this off-season, the future looks bright for these “Youngbloods” as they will look to catch another big fish come the off-season, and work on the development of their young but already potent team. Watch out for them to make a ton of noise come next season.

Now here are the scores from all games of the series:

Game 1 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 91-120 Thunder

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 20, Beverley 11, Delfino 10
Rebounds: Jones 8, Asik 7, Harden 6
Assists: Lin 4, Beverley 4, Brooks 3

Thunder leaders:

Points: Durant 24, Westbrook 19, Ibaka 17
Rebounds: Westbrook 8, Ibaka 7, Durant 6
Assists: Westbrook 10, Durant 4, Jackson 4, Collison 4

Game 2 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 102-105 Thunder

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 36, Parsons 17, Beverley 16
Rebounds: Asik 14, Beverley 12, Harden 11
Assists:Harden 6, Beverley 6, Lin 3

Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 29, Westbrook 29, Ibaka 12

Rebounds: Ibaka 11, Sefolosha 7, Perkins 6
Assists: Durant 9, Westbrook 4, Jackson 3
 
Game 3 @ Houston: Thunder 104-101 Rockets

Thunder leaders:

Points: Durant 41, Ibaka 17, Jackson 14
Rebounds: Durant 14, Ibaka 11, Sefolosha 9
Assists: Durant 4, Jackson 3, Martin 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 30, Parsons 21, Garcia 18
Rebounds: Harden 8, Asik 8, Parsons 7, Jones 7
Assists: Parsons 7, Harden 6, Delfino 4
 
Game 4 @ Houston: Thunder 103-105 Rockets
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 38, Jackson 18, Martin 16
Rebounds: Durant 8, Collison 6, Ibaka 5, Liggins 5
Assists: Durant 6, Jackson 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Parsons 27, Asik 17, Beverley 16
Rebounds: Asik 14, Parsons 10, Beverley 4, Delfino 4
Assists: Parsons 8, Harden 3, Beverley 3, Delfino 3
 
Game 5 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 107-100 Thunder

Rockets leaders:
Points: Harden 31, Asik 21, Garcia 18
Rebounds: Asik 11, Harden 8, Beverley 8
Assists: Parsons 4, Garcia 3, Harden 3, Brooks 3
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 36, Jackson 20, Ibaka 14
Rebounds: Ibaka 9, Sefolosha 8, Durant 7
Assists: Durant 7, Sefolosha 6, Jackson 3
 
Game 6 @ Houston: Thunder 103-94 Rockets
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 27, Martin 25, Jackson 17
Rebounds: Collison 9, Durant 8, Jackson 7, Ibaka 7
Assists: Jackson 8, Durant 6, Martin 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 26, Parsons 25, Asik 13
Rebounds: Asik 13, Parsons 7, Harden 6, Garcia 6
Assists: Harden 7, Garcia 5, Parsons 3
 
Thunder win series 4-2
 
K-Smoove
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