NBA playoffs: Rockets crush Thunder behind hot hand of unheralded guard Patrick Beverley | NBA

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James Harden and Russell Westbrook dominated the spotlight before the Rockets and Thunder met in Game 1 of their playoff series. It doesn’t get much better in terms of matchups — two of the leading MVP contenders and two of the NBA’s elite guards going head to head.

But another guard proved the difference for Houston Sunday night in a dominant 118-87 win over Oklahoma City. Starting point guard Patrick Beverley scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds, and looked unstoppable at times, even after he got floored by a brutal-but-legal screen by OKC big man Steven Adams.

The 28-year-old Beverley, who came in averaging only 9.5 points per game, knocked down 4 of 6 treys.

Yes, Harden played well (37 points, nine assists and seven rebounds), but this night belonged to the unheralded Beverley. Although he’s been the starter at the point for the Rockets four seasons, he’s never averaged more than 10.2 points per game.

Harden told TNT after the game he wasn’t surprised Beverley stepped up big.

“(Beverley) has been doing this since I’ve been here,” Harden said.

The Thunder also could not contain the Rockets’ inside game. Houston out-rebounded OKC 56-41 and outscored them in the paint, 62-38.

As for Westbrook, he’ll look to put this tough game behind him. He scored 22 points, but hit only 6 of 23 shots. He added 11 rebounds and seven assists.

The teams meet again Wednesday night in Houston.

Studs of the Night

Draymond Green fell just one assist short of a triple-double in the Warriors’ 121-109 win over the Trail Blazers, but what he accomplished on the court Sunday was far rarer. According to the , Green is the first player in the playoffs to post at least 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five blocks and three assists since the 1973-74 season.

Trail Blazers backcourt mates C.J. McCollum (41 points) and Damian Lillard (34) combined for 75 points in Portland’s loss. 

Dud of the Night

Dwyane Wade had a little problem with his hops on this dunk attempt.


Isaiah Thomas wasted no time showing he would be a factor against the Bulls Sunday night despite facing a terrible family tragedy. He finished with 33 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Monday’s game to watch

Game 2: Pacers at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. ET, TNT (Cavaliers lead 1-0) — The Pacers almost escaped with a win on the Cavs’ home floor in Game 1 Saturday. They obviously don’t want to return to Indianapolis in a 2-0 hole. After losing the No. 1 seed in the East late in the season to the Celtics, the Cavs are playing with a chip on their shoulder. If the Pacers don’t get a hold Monday this could be a quick series.

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