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Rockets power past Thunder without Russell Westbrook

The Rockets didn’t need to be at full strength to top the Thunder on Tuesday. Houston takes a 1-0 series lead with a convincing win.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball up court during Round One, Game One of the NBA Playoffs on August 18, 2020 at The Field House in Orlando, Florida.  Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

James Harden and the Houston Rockets took on the Oklahoma City Thunder without Russell Westbrook (quad) and came out of their first playoff game of the year with a 123-108 victory. Harden was expected to have a heavy workload with his backcourt partner out of commission, but he got a lot of help from his supporting cast.

Harden scored a game-high 33 points on 10-of-19 shooting with 11 rebounds and 3 assists to tally 54.25 DKFP. Eric Gordon was back at 100 percent and looked fully recovered from the ankle injury he suffered during a scrimmage ahead of the seeding games. He acted as a Westbrook substitute and scored 21 points. Jeff Green was the real surprise of the night though. He scored 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists to finish with 35 DKFP.

The Thunder’s usually stellar backcourt was lacking quality in this game. Chris Paul led Oklahoma City from a fantasy perspective with 46 DKFP. He flirted with a triple-double by posting 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander only managed 15.5 DKFP in 33 minutes. Danilo Galinari gave the Thunder some much-needed fire power by leading them with 29 points. He was a perfecrt 9-for-9 from the free throw line.

The Rockets are known for their potent offense but played great team defense against the Thunder. Things could get ugly for Oklahoma City when Westbrook returns if it doesn’t figure things out on both ends of the court.