Thunder launches Rockets, finally !

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The Oklahoma City Thunder has advanced to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. The Thunder used a strong performance from their reserves for an impressive 103-94 win over the Houston Rockets in Texas Friday night to win the best-of-7 game series 4-games to two. All-Star Kevin Durant went over the 20 point mark for the 32nd consecutive playoff game in his remarkable career with a game high 26 points. But back-up shooting guard Kevin Martin responded with 25 points after shooting just 1-10 in the game #5 loss in Oklahoma City Wednesday night. 2nd year starting point guard Reggie Jackson was brilliant in place of the injured Russell Westbrook with 17 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. And 38-year old Derek Fisher added 11 points and played solid defense on Houston all-star James Harden as the Thunder overcame a 10-point deficit in the 3rd quarter to get the series clinching victory.

In all, the Thunder bench outscored Houston’s reserves 46-11…including Nick Collison’s 10 points and a team-high 9 rebounds in place of the ineffective Kendrick Perkins. OKC spurted late in the 3rd Quarter with a 16-3 run to grab a lead and never give it away. The zenith was a 99-84 advantage with 4:31 left after a Durant dunk following Fisher forcing a James Harden turnover. Fisher then buried a 3-point shot and then stole another pass from Harden and got it ahead to Kevin Martin for the slam…and Houston’s season was moments away from being over.

The Thunder advances to the Western Conference Semifinals in a best-of-7 game series starting Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies, with the first two games to be played at “The Peake” in downtown Oklahoma City. Sunday’s opener tips off at Noon and will be nationally televised.

Bob Barry Jr. has a report from Houston on the Thunder victory over Houston and the players/coaches reaction afterwards.  The speakers are (in order) Bob Jr., Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, Thunder all-star Kevin Durant and Houston all-star James Harden followed by Rockets head coach Kevin McHale.

Data pix.

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