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Remember when I said the Rockets could have easily had this series at 3-1 if not for a few late game miscues? Every action that occurred Wednesday night in Game 5 of their first round Western Conference playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder made me feel like a prophet.

No, the Thunder fans didn’t run Patrick Beverley out of the gym following what happened between he and Russell Westbrook in Game 2. He’s from Chicago, Marshall High to be exact. And he played in Russia where they threw things at him like he was basketball’s Mario Balotelli. He braved it through and soldiered on. What we were left with as we left TNT Wednesday night was this – Rockets 107, Thunder 100 and a brand new series.

How did we get here, you ask? Simple.

First, James Harden finally got back into this strip club haze of Dreams, Onyx, Legends & Crazy Horse and proceeded to sling bullets all inside Chesapeake Energy Arena to the tune of 31 points and 7-of-9 from three. That’s right, the James Harden who the Rockets believed was a superstar and could wash away all the pains of Tracy McGrady showed up in OKC.

That being said, there’s going to be more eyes laid upon the opposing bench when the storyline continues to ebb out of this one. First, through three quarters Kevin Durant played like the most dominating point forward this side of LeBron James at times. A 6’11” PG is freakish, almost Magic like and Durant was doing everything to keep the Thunder in position to finally close the pesky Rockets out. Yet in the fourth quarter, he put up a goose egg. Zero. 36 through 36 and 0 for the next 12 minutes. And it felt that way throughout the 4th as Durant seemed less reluctant to take over and more angered at how the game slipped away.

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Then embarrassment set in.

Scott Brooks, former Coach of the Year and the guy who runs the best team in the Western Conference (regular season wise, cause Memphis & San Antonio are arguing that in the playoffs) basically pulled out one of the worst tricks you can pull. Hack-A-Asik. Brooks decided to put the Rockets worst FT shooter on the line and believe he could slow down the Rockets barrage from deep and put water on their 37-point third quarter showing.

It didn’t work.

Not only did Asik nail 9 of his FT attempts during the OKC “slowdown”, he continued the tactic even after the Thunder got the game down to six. It absolutely sucked the life out of the notorious OKC crowd who were smelling blood in the water with the lead already cut down. Taking his own crowd out of the game ultimately became Brooks downfall on Wednesday night. It almost felt like a slow reverse of what happened last year in the Western Conference Finals. Brooks outsmarted Gregg Poppovich to get to the NBA Finals, winning four straight games from the Spurs who had come in winning 20 straight and looked like mortal locks for the Finals. Can we honestly say that Brooks got undone by Kevin McHale of all people in this series? Or do we save that for Game 6? We’ll see back in the Toyota Center.

Elsewhere in the league, the Celtics came back from the dead (again) to topple the Knicks and force a Game 6 back in Boston and in the series that could be on Lifetime for all we care, Indiana beat Atlanta to lead their series 3-2 heading to Game 6 cruising in the ATL.

RELATED: Oklahoma City’s Game 5 Performance Vs. Houston Was Pathetic And Embarrassing – TSFJ

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