Because James Harden and Russell Westbrook are neck and neck in the MVP race, many expected the series between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder to also be tightly contested. That hasn’t been the case at all.
Here’s what happened during Sunday’s slate of NBA playoff games:
The Thunder are down 3-1 after blowing a big lead
Oklahoma City now finds themselves with their backs against the wall after dropping Game 5 at home Sunday afternoon. Russell Westbrook had his squad cruising through most of the game, and at one point the Thunder built up a 14-point lead. That quickly evaporated once Westbrook went to the bench in the third. Couple that with Andre Roberson’s inability to shoot free throws, and Oklahoma City watched as victory slipped from their grasp. James Harden finished with just 16 points on 16 shots, yet the Thunder still managed to lose by four points. Simply put: the Thunder don’t have anyone who can carry the load outside of Westbrook.
Russell has no time for your questions
Russell Westbrook just stuffed this reporter in a locker pic.twitter.com/5I6XyoOTK2— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) April 23, 2017
One Thunder reporter tried to ask Steven Adams why the rest of the Thunder can’t hang when Westbrook isn’t on the floor. The obvious answer is “well, we stink”, but Adams didn’t even have the time to concoct a more politically correct answer before Westbrook shut the reporter down. What ensued was a very awkward encounter. I don’t blame the reporter for asking what is a very fair question. He was just never going to get a good answer out of it.
Moe Harkless has become a target of Draymond Green ‘s smack talk
All-NBA First Team smack talker Draymond Green is apparently using his gift of gab on Trail Blazers forward Moe Harkless. Green reportedly got word of the $500,000 bonus Harkless earned by deciding not to shoot any threes in the Trail Blazers’ final regular season game, and has been taunting him about it all series. For what it’s worth, Harkless is shooting just 2-11 from three so far.
Robin Lopez continues to get caught in weird situations
YESSSS Robin Lopez loses , Jae Crowder throws , Lopez unties Crowder's , grabs Crowder, re-ties Crowder's to say sorry. #PETTYWARZ pic.twitter.com/jrBEp0Rd4d— #PETTYWARZ (@World_Wide_Wob) April 24, 2017
The tweet says it all. Very nice of Lopez to tie his opponent’s shoe, however. Great show of sportsmanship.
Tyronn Lue claims to not to have seen J.R. Smith’s boneheaded turnover
J.R. Smith was almost singlehandedly responsible for extending the Cavaliers-Pacers series. With the Cavaliers up three and just 11 seconds left on the clock, Smith came up with an errant Jeff Teague pass that should’ve sealed the game. And in a moment that epitomizes J.R. Smith, he decided to attempt a behind the back pass to Kyrie Irving across the court which was picked off by the Pacers. Somehow, Tyronn Lue claimed not to have seen the play that almost led to a Game 5. Hopefully that ordeal taught him an important lesson. If you need a defensive stop, J.R. probably isn’t the guy you want on the court. And if you want to leave him on the court, just continue to look the other way.
Luckily for Smith, Paul George bricked the hell out of a wide open three. George is now 2-32 on game-tying or go-ahead shots for his career.
Maybe his new Gatorade commercial should look more like this...
Why y'all gotta do Paul George like this?— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) April 24, 2017
Here’s tonight’s slate of games:
- Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors - 7:00 p.m. (NBATV)
- Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks - 8:00 p.m. (TNT)
- Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers - 10:30 (TNT)