Thunder outlast Rockets, trim series lead to 2-1

Thunder outlast Rockets, trim series lead to 2-1

After the game, a reporter asked Westbrook's teammate Steven Adams a question about what happens to the Thunder when Westbrook goes to the bench, and why the second units continue to struggle. We won one and then we had another chance to win today, but we can't rely on that. We in this together. Don't try to make us go against each other. Rather than pouting and blaming his team for falling off when he hits the bench, Westbrook spoke up and made it clear he doesn't want the play of his teammates to be judged apart from his own. "Don't say, 'when Russell goes out the team doesn't play well.' That doesn't matter". Regardless if I go to the bench, or Steven's on the floor, or if I'm off the floor, we in this together.

Westbrook: It's not between me and you, next question. He hasn't said anything. Given the opportunity to respond, Adams just shook his head and the exchange ended.

Considering the circumstances and the fact that Westbrook once told Tramel, "I just don't like you", maybe the columnist got off easy Sunday. And this was displayed no better than how the Rockets' bench has demolished not only OKC's bench, but completely altered the Thunder's ability to give Westbrook and Adams adequate rest.

Donovan's altered rotation has already paid dividends for the Thunder, so if they can continue to reasonably cut into Houston's three-point advantage, they should hang around once again.

With the win on their home court, the Thunder avoided falling into an 0-3 hole in their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series, narrowing the deficit to 2-1. Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each scored 18 points, and Trevor Ariza finished with 14.

There were two exchanges - one when Bev fell out-of-bounds during regulation and the second one, of course, after the conclusion of the game.

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Dwyane Wade scored 18 points and Jimmy Butler chipped in 14 for Chicago, but the Bulls offense looked stagnant without point guard Rajon Rondo, who is sidelined indefinitely with a broken thumb.

Game five is on Wednesday in Houston.

Game 4 will be played Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City. It is expected that the Thunder will re-sign the fourth-year small forward, but it's got to be a little painful for general manager Sam Presti to pay $10 million or $12 million a year to a guy who shot 42 percent on free throws during the regular season.

Here's what stood out to me in Game 4.

That is when the Thunder guard and MVP candidate jumped in. Beverley exchanged words with the fan after the game. "Get the (bleep) outta here!"

It was Harden's second missed 3-pointer - both short - in the final 15 seconds. A fraction of a second remained as Russell Westbrook collected a seemingly meaningless rebound, but in a statistical sense, it was significant. After Game 4's deflating 113-109 loss to the Rockets to put OKC in a 3-1 hole, next to Westbrook on stage was Steven Adams, the owner of a new playoff career high with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting.