The Oklahoma City Thunder are nonetheless alive. After double digit losses in Games 1 and a couple of of their first-round series towards the Houston Rockets, the Thunder bounced again in Game 3 with a wild 119-107 win in extra time to make the series 2-1. 

In the primary two video games of the series, the Thunder struggled to rating the ball, however their protection falling aside was the largest downside. They stepped up on each ends of the ground in Game 3, getting to the free throw line to give their sputtering offense a lift, and holding the Rockets to 30 p.c from 3-point land. Dennis Schroder went for 29 factors off the bench, whereas Chris Paul completed with 26 factors, six rebounds and 5 assists. 

Houston was as soon as once more with out Russell Westbrook due to a quad damage, however nonetheless had an excellent probability to go up 3-0. They could not maintain on down the stretch, nevertheless, and as soon as James Harden fouled out early in extra time, they fell aside. Harden completed with 38 in a robust efficiency, however Jeff Green was the one different Rocket to have a strong offensive day. Those two had been 20 of 40 from the sector, whereas the remainder of the crew went 18 of 52. 

Here are some key takeaways from the sport:

Thunder give themselves an opportunity

The Thunder had a tricky time within the first two video games, dropping by double digits in Games 1 and a couple of to fall behind 2-0. After these two outcomes, what was anticipated to be one of the vital aggressive first-round series was immediately trying prefer it might be a sweep. Oklahoma City made certain that did not occur, coming by way of within the clutch to safe the win and provides themselves an opportunity on this series.

Since solely 21 groups have come again from a 2-Zero deficit in a seven recreation series, the latest being the Toronto Raptors final season within the Eastern Conference finals. That’s not very many, and it exhibits robust the Thunder’s process is over the subsequent three or 4 video games. But no crew in NBA historical past has ever come again from a 3-Zero deficit. 

If they misplaced this recreation, they could as nicely have packed up and left the bubble. It wasn’t fairly, however credit score to them for grinding this win out with some huge performs down the stretch and in extra time. 

Schroder exhibits why he may win Sixth Man of the Year

When Dennis Schroder was traded to the Thunder, he had to readjust to life as a sixth man. His first season backing up Russell Westbrook was strong, however he actually took off this season. He put up 18.9 factors, four assists and 3.6 rebounds per recreation, whereas capturing a career-high 38.5 p.c from 3-point land. 

His play off the bench, and alongside Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander within the Thunder’s dominant three-guard lineups, made him a number one candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. That award hasn’t been introduced simply but, however Schroder is among the three finalists, and on Saturday he submitted additional proof why that is the case. 

He went for 29 factors within the recreation, tying his career-high for factors in any recreation, not to mention the postseason, and added 5 rebounds, 5 assists and two steals. And although he did not rating in extra time, he was enormous within the fourth quarter, scoring 10 factors in that body, together with an enormous 3-pointer with simply over a minute left to reduce the deficit to two factors. 

There’s no probability the Thunder win this recreation with out Schroder stepping up. 

How about Jeff Green?

The Rockets did not get the win in Game 3, however it definitely wasn’t Jeff Green’s fault. The oft-maligned swingman is on his eighth crew in 5 years, however he won’t have to transfer once more if he retains taking part in like this. He was in double figures in seven of the eight seeding video games, and has been superior within the playoffs thus far. 

Against the Thunder in Game 3, he was one of many few Houston gamers to present up on the offensive finish, going for 22 factors on 8-for-13 from the sector and 5-for-Eight from 3-point land. He additionally added seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks. The solely Rocket with extra factors on this one was James Harden, and Green’s scorching capturing was one of many primary causes they even had a lead in any respect.

For the series, Green is now averaging 19.7 factors and 6.7 rebounds, whereas capturing a stellar 52.four p.c from behind the arc. In the three video games, the Rockets are plus-46 with him on the ground. Often taking part in because the 5 in Houston’s extra-small-ball assault, Green creates some actual matchup issues for the Thunder on the defensive finish, particularly if Steven Adams is within the recreation.

Obviously the difficulty with Green has all the time been consistency, so he may go chilly at any minute. But he deserves quite a lot of credit score for what he is bringing to this Rockets crew proper now. His offensive manufacturing has been huge with Westbrook out. 

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