‘Nothing easy, nothing easy! We’re going to Game 7 baby, Game seveeeen!
What better way to portend another win or go home game than with Zaza Pachulia’s epic ‘nothing easy’ speech. Well, after OKC beat the Rockets 104-100, NBA fans are in for a treat, as another series decisive game is scheduled for Wednesday.
This is who we are – we’re built for stuff like this. A lot of guys on our team have been pushed out, traded, or whatnot, but we just stick together, and we keep fighting.Chris Paul, ESPN
It’s been a tough series for the Thunder. After going down 2-0, Oklahoma tied the series at two apiece, only to lose Game 5 and be faced with an elimination game on Monday. But the collection of guys who were ‘pushed out‘ and ‘traded‘ came up big, forcing the Rockets to see them for the final time in what will be crucial 48 minutes for both teams.
But with 3:40 left on the clock, an extra game for the Thunder seemed like a reach. The Rockets were up by six and were seemingly paving their way for a second-round matchup against LeBron James and the LA Lakers. But as they’ve done all season, with the game close, the Thunder turned things over to Chris Paul, and he delivered.
CP3 scored eight of OKC’s final 12 points, including two three-pointers and two go-ahead free throws with 13.1 left to put his team up 102-100. Danilo Gallinari followed it up with two free throws of his own, to seal the victory for the Thunder. That was all Paul needed to throw some shade at his former teammate and the guy they traded him for.
“When it gets to clutch time, fourth quarter, some people built for it, some people shy away from it, so we’re just going to keep hooping.”Chris Paul, ESPN
Paul finished the game with 28 points – and zero turnovers – in 40 minutes of action. He shot 10-for-20 from the field, and 3-for-5 from behind the line, topping the +/- collumn with +20. Gallo added 25 points on .529 shooting, as three more Thunder’ players scored in double digits.
The Rockets were led by James Harden‘s 32 points, but he once again lacked support in his co-superstar in Russell Westbrook. Russ had 17 points on 15 shots, but was once again careless with the ball, accumulating 7 turnovers in 27 minutes on the floor. In the final 90 seconds, Russ lost the ball twice, depriving his team a possibility to steal the game and avoid being faced with a winner-take-all Game 7.
“I mean, a lot of the mistakes that we’ve made in close games have been on us, to be honest. You watch the turnover on my part, some turnovers, a turnover I think two games ago with Eric Gordon, so it’s kind of been on us, to be completely honest. That’s a fix that we’ve got to be able to do to close the game out. That’s just my fault, honestly. That’s easy. Last game, I had zero. Tonight I had seven. Simple as that.”Russell Westbrook, ESPN
‘We just wanted a chance! We just wanted a chance! Game 7 anything can happen‘ – yelled CP3 on his way to the locker room. Well, the Thunder will get their chance. Chris Paul will also get his chance. Westbrook and Harden will also get their chance.
It’s the battle of former teammates and the collection of individual quests for some sort of postseason validation, and it will come down to a win or leave the bubble game on Wednesday. It doesn’t get better than that.