Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider says OKC had the best Game 1 performance: “Since the Thunder led the NBA in point differential, it shouldn’t surprise that the weekend’s best game wasn’t even their best performance against the Rockets. Oklahoma City won by 30 at Houston in December. The start bodes well for the Thunder’s chances. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the last team to win the opener by at least 29 points and lose the series was the Boston Celtics against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1985 NBA Finals. All told, since 1960 teams so dominant in Game 1 are 29-2 in series.”
Berry Tramel: “Now you know why the Rockets, who have little answer for the likes of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, are overmatched in this series. They have no answer for Westbrook. Now you know why, when I asked Rocket coach Kevin McHale on Monday about Westbrook’s jaw-dropping play, he responded, “Which one?” Now you know why the criticism of Westbrook, who not so long ago joined LeBron as the most-scrutinized players in the NBA, has abated and why Westbrook just might make first-team all-NBA this season, at the expense of noted tweeter Kobe Bryant. Westbrook no longer plays basketball like his hair’s on fire. He is the fire. Sunday night, Westbrook had seven rebounds and seven assists in 181/2 first-half minutes. He missed out on a triple double only because he sat out the entire fourth quarter of the rout.”
Kevin Durant received a second and a third-place vote for Most Improved. Serge Ibaka finished ninth, receiving one first-place vote.
From Elias: “After losing by 29 points in Game 1, Houston’s James Harden said, “losing like this was definitely good for us.” Entering the 2013 postseason, there were 62 instances of a team losing by 25 or more points in Game 1 of a playoff series. Only 7 went on to win the series (11.3%).”
KD’s in a new commercial. Surprise, surprise.
Game 4’s starting time is now set for 8:30 CT.
The Dream Shake on what OKC did best in Game 1: “Oklahoma City had some stellar team defense. The help defense was responsive the switches were well communicated and thoroughly understood. When the Rockets were able to penetrate the perimeter defense there was an Oklahoma jersey sliding perfectly into place to limit easy buckets.”
Ethan Sherwood Strauss for ESPN.com: “OKC’s demolition of Houston was a telling reminder that reality doesn’t always love our precious playoff narratives. Would it be entertaining to see James Harden unleash a maestro performance in a victory over his old team? Sure, but Harden’s old team is just too good. Again, this first round has gotten off to a rather boring start.”