Skip to content

Kevin Durant & Thunder solve Rockets’ gameplan; Chandler Parsons comes up big in Rockets’ win

Apr 30, 2013, 1:31 AM EDT

Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant AP

Chandler Parsons stood on the court and said, “It’s unbelievable.”

Moments ago, Serge Ibaka laid on the same court court and covered his eyes with both hands before making his body limp as two of his teammates tried to pick him. A few feet away, Reggie Jackson, knocked to the ground, sat up and reached across his body to smack the floor softly. Derek Fisher crouched down and then landed flat on his stomach. Thabo Sefolosha threw up his arms. Kevin Durant licked his lips and stared straight ahead.

Certainly, those Thunder players also found it unbelievable.

But here is the most unbelievable part of the Rockets’ 105-103 Game 4 win over Oklahoma City tonight: Houston’s plan failed.

The Thunder made the first move with Russell Westbrook out, running all their offense through Durant in Game 3. He took 30 shots and scored 41 points.

The Rockets countered by double-, triple- and even quadruple-teaming Durant. Initially, they were successful. Durant forced opportunities, and Oklahoma City’s offense struggled as a result. But eventually Durant became more patient, and Thunder’s scoring took off.

The Rockets kept focusing on Durant, though, throwing a physical defense at him. Durant committed seven turnovers, including two two charges, but he also drew 13 fouls. That seemed to be just how Houston wanted it.

But the plan did not work. Yes, the Rockets held Durant to 16 shots, but he scored 38 points. Durant also had six assists, and his teammates made 9-of-17 3-pointers with him on the floor.

So how did the Rockets win?

It wasn’t because of James Harden, who had more turnovers (10) than field goals (4), rebounds (1) and assists (3) combined.

Again, how did the Rockets win?

Their complementary players – led by Parsons (27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists) – were awesome.

Carlos Delinfo made 3-of-5 3-pointers and dunked on Durant. Omer Asik had 17 points and 14 rebounds. Francisco Garcia made 3-of-7, Patrick Beverly 2-of-4 and Aaron Brookes 1-of-1 from beyond the arc. Houston’s bench players had so much swagger tonight, they could send the excess to the early-season Clippers, who lacked confidence in comparison.

Parsons especially picked a heck of a time for the best game of his career. He scored inside (7-of-9 in the restricted area) and out (3-of-6 on 3-pointers), drove and spotted up, dished and boarded. He was just incredible.

But, despite all the focus on him, so was Durant.

Even Durant playing within himself still meant plenty of shots that wouldn’t be reasonable for other players.

Down seven points in the final two minutes, Durant pulled up for a 3-pointer. Thunder down four with 1:42 left.

On Oklahoma City’s next possession, Durant crossed over Parsons and Brooks on the perimeter, drove and dunked over Asik and Delfino. Thunder down two with 1:13 left.

But Durant stayed true to Oklahoma City’s adjusted gameplan. Even on the game’s final play, when he ran out of space, Durant passed to Reggie Jackson. Jackson drove to the rim and was probably fouled by Asik, but it wasn’t called, and Serge Ibaka’s putback just missed as the buzzer sounded.

Durant’s last five points were the only five scored by either team in the final two minutes. He wasn’t the hero tonight, but the stage is set for him to fill that role soon.

Latest Posts
  1. 67RIEFNS No. 30: Tim Duncan doing it again

    Oct 24, 2014, 12:15 AM EDT

    2014 NBA Global Games - Berlin 2014 NBA Global Games - Berlin

    Spurs big man just won’t stop producing great seasons

  2. Daryl Morey: Last year’s Rockets were “average”

    Oct 23, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Jeremy Lin Houston Rockets Press Conference Jeremy Lin Houston Rockets Press Conference

    Why is Houston’s general manager downplaying his own team’s success?

  3. Donald Sterling is negotiating dismissal of his federal lawsuit against the NBA

    Oct 23, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT

    Donald Sterling Donald Sterling

    Sterling had previously dropped a fraud charge against the NBA.

  4. Steve Nash to miss entire 2014-15 season with ongoing back injuries

    Oct 23, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    Steve Nash Steve Nash

    The two-time MVP continues to battle nerve damage in his back.

  5. Report: Sixers in talks to acquire Marquis Teague from Nets

    Oct 23, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets Brooklyn Nets

    He’s already one of the best players in Philadelphia.

  6. PBT Extra: Miami leads teams taking step back this season

    Oct 23, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Miami Heat Media Day Getty Images

    When you lose the best player walking the face of the earth, your team gets worse.

  7. Kevin Love to Timberwolves fans: “Thanks for not burning my jersey”

    Oct 23, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day Getty Images

    Love reflects on his summer and the blockbuster trade in a new “Players Tribune” essay.

  8. NBA unveils new replay center, will have it ready on opening night

    Oct 23, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT

    NBA replay center

    It looks like a NASA launch center… but it’s a good thing for the league.

  9. Kevin Love wants more inside touches

    Oct 23, 2014, 2:47 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Memphis Grizzlies Cleveland Cavaliers v Memphis Grizzlies

    Cavalier star forward still adjusting to playing with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving

  10. Hornets to retire late Bobby Phills’ jersey (again)

    Oct 23, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT

    courtesy Bobcats.com

    Retired jersey went to New Orleans when team moved

  11. Jeanie Buss: ‘Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser’

    Oct 23, 2014, 12:18 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Lakers president has strong words for Kobe detractors after ESPN report

  12. Kobe Bryant missing Lakers’ final two preseason games

    Oct 23, 2014, 11:37 AM EDT

    Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

    Kobe previously planned to play all eight preseason games

  13. ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Memphis Grizzlies

    Oct 23, 2014, 10:10 AM EDT

    Marc Gasol Marc Gasol

    The grit and grind has an improved offense. Where do they stand in the loaded west?

Featured video

Heat can make playoffs without LeBron
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (4395)
  2. B. Lopez (4201)
  3. N. Noel (4042)
  4. J. Lin (4004)
  5. V. Oladipo (3962)