Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden, NBA Playoffs, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander "on fire" 21 Pts lead Rockets def. Thunder 111-98, series leads 2-0 without Westbrook
You are now rocking with the best rope harris here in studio b in the great city of atlanta, georgia, and we are welcoming in all of our nba fans, that just watched the houston rockets take care of business in game, two against the okc thunder, not necessarily The best performance for your backcourt, but they still figured out a way to get a win and i’m about to win today, because i got to bring in my front court buddies with me hall of famer grant hill on one forward and the coach of the year. Sam mitchell, on the other sam i’m gon na start with you coach, you look at your back court. You have james harden, who goes 2 4 11 from three eric gordon who goes old for 10 for three and then you have a essentially blowout win for the houston rockets. What is your immediate reaction to seeing how houston played and seeing they got the win? Hey man, i never thought those two words would go around go along with each other when you say the houston rockets defense, but the rockets are defending anytime. You shoot 56 threes and only shoot around 30 31. They didn’t play well. James harden had one of his worst playoff game performances that i’ve ever seen. But when you look at everyone else, seven of the eight guys that played scored in double figures – and i tell you what grant? Where did they find jeff green from because, right now he is killing okc, they don’t have an answer for him.
They don’t want to switch they’re, giving him those threes and he’s knocking him down, but what he’s doing also he’s a bigger athletic body to defend and rebound and then he’s putting the ball on the floor, attacking the rim so right now it’s not about the houston Rockets offense grant but it’s about the houston rockets, defense, yeah, yeah sam. I i never thought i’d hear that as well defense, houston rockets, uh! You know i was so impressed with how they played collectively on the defensive end uh. They really just kind of shut them down, particularly to start that fourth quarter, where harden was on the bench uh getting consecutive stops, effort plays uh, you know being able to get out and transition and, as you say, i mean once they get stops. Their offense is who they are, and their ability to score and spread the floor uh with a harden not playing well. So just an impressive win uh, i think great for the morale, their confidence. I i loved too how russell westbrook was over there. He plays with a lot of energy, also cheese on the bench with a lot of energy uh, but houston uh, fantastic win for them. If they can continue to play like that and play with that kind of defensive effort and intensity, they could go for a long run here, possibly in the playoffs russell westbrook. Still out with that quadriceps injury, his back court mate and his cali buddy from back in the day james hard, not the best night shooting five for 16 still finishes with 21 points, nine assists.
We take a look at his walk off with espn’s cassidy hopper. How can you describe how you felt out your offensive flow tonight? I couldn’t make a shot, but you know i’m, more than just a shot maker. You know obviously try to be active defensively. Uh try to do other things to impact the game uh. But yes, my teammates man, they did an unbelievable job, especially in that fourth quarter getting stops. I think we got five. Six stops in a row and just uh turned the whole game around so i’m, proud of the guys huge win for us yeah that 15 0 run in the fourth was pivotal. You were on the bench. You were very animated. What did you see out of your supporting cast that’s? What it’s going to take man? This is the playoffs, so i mean obviously i want to have my best game every game, but i can’t you know so uh. You know guys that’s what you need to team for and guys stepped up man our entire. Our entire team was in the game. We were excited and uh we made some big plays in that fourth quarter. Russ was also excited yeah, he’s, not out here on the field on the court, but you know what type of impact did he have in your huddles? You better be sure he ain’t got enough to do. Nah russ is just uh he’s, a leader man, he’s our leader, so uh.
You know his communication and his voice matters to us. You know so, like i said i’m, just so proud of the guys how we played and defensively you know, holding them under 100 points. After the first quarter, they got shows a lot about us speaking of pride. How much pride are you taking in the effort on the defensive end of the ball, everything just as much as offensively? You know i think that’s that’s going to be the factor of us getting to our goal. You know, as a team defense – and i can’t be the guy that you know, teams are going to go after so she’s got to take pride in probably didn’t guard and uh. You know make sure defensively on the same page. Lastly, you’re up 2 0, but you’re not going back to okc. So what does game three mean to you same thing, man. We got to come out with the same mindset uh. You know, they’re not going to go away. They’Re, a vet team leader leader by chris paul, and we got to just go out there from the beginning of the game and defensively had that mindset locked in you know, i think we didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, but defensively won us the game. Well, you shot it at a historic pace from three, but you still and you still got the win thanks james appreciate it. The houston rockets shot a record 58 threes in this game.
The master of that offense mike d’antoni is now speaking to us. Well, the second half was, i thought, incredible um. That was the game. You know the first half we’re lacking a little bit here, a little bit there. We weren’t quite on point with some of the game plan and we we correct that they corrected it and uh. I thought second half was terrific and actually won us the game. Here we go down those lines. How meaningful having any playoff win is meaningful, but how meaningful is it to be able to win a game like that or you want to have a whole playoff run? Well, it is uh, you know you, you have to win games playing bad. I thought first half when we shot the ball horribly, but you know it’s two games. I just told the team you know all we did was defend home court. Now we got to go to oklahoma city play so um. We got to come out to third game, same kind of intensity, some kind of mentality and see what happens. Did they buy them? No, they kind of laugh. I don’t understand they kind of laughed at me. I don’t get it mark how you doing. I didn’t see you before the game, but russell’s doing pretty good, so go ahead. Music, i’m! Doing fine thanks smart advantage! So anyway, we asked you, after game, one you’re, good you’re, beating these guys by double digits again without russell westbrook.
What does that mean? What does that say about where you guys are? Well, i mean obviously we’ve been playing well and i just our defense has taken a couple steps off and we knew that was going to be the key and you know the guys just bought in and they just they hot locked in and you’re going to have. You’Re going to have uneven nights offensively, but even with the uneven night offensively, we hung in there until we got the offense going, and i thought the second group that came in when james was resting. Uh did an unbelievable great job defensively and then they hit some shots and uh. You know from daniel house to pj uh uh eric. You know. Jeff played a good game again, so we found guys that just uh they kept us close early and then, when we started rolling a little bit offensively, we could get a little bit of a lead, greg, bailey, hey mike. We had some unbelievable shots on television of james and defense and russ just going wild as the bench is going out there doing their thing. To give you the big run. What was the atmosphere like on your bench when the rug was happening, and what does that? Do for the cold war reserves when they’re out there doing such a great job? Well, i mean it’s, i mean that’s what it’s all about no matter what everybody’s cheering for the other guy and doing whatever they can do defensively offensive for the other guy.
When you have that kind of spirit, we do right now, it’s great it’s, great, to be part of the whole group, and james is in there congratulating all the guys on the job they did and that just goes a long long way and you can’t teach it It just has to happen and uh it’s happened, it’s been it’s, really it’s fun at this point, jason bristol hi mike. This is now the second straight game without james. That group has made a push you mentioned defense. Is it defense and something else? What do you attribute their success to? Well? I think it starts on the defensive end, but you know we got some really good offensive players out there without james and and uh it’s. You know not talking about oklahoma city, but anybody to stay in front of austin rivers or eric gordon or jeff green, the five or uh daniel house it’s, tough, it’s, tough to stay in front of those guys and uh, and once we break it down, we keep The floor spread, you know, pj hits a couple. Big threes and daniel house hit a three and jeff grammy. Just everybody contributed and that’s what it’s all about and it wasn’t a you know. It was just a really good night for a lot of guys. Thank you. You mentioned a little bit, but when you look at kind of your roster you’ve got guys like that. You know ben hadn’t ever find his way in this league.
Austin rivers is a guy who was bought out at one point. Jeff green was a guy who was bought out this year. Uh daniel house was waived um, who? What is it about the environment that you guys have created where these guys have been able to corporation well, it’s one? You know a compliment to our uh staff and daryl does a great job of bringing guys in and targeting who fits our system. And then you know james and russ uh pj. When you play with veterans they they get confidence.