Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder suffered the fate of a common trend from the regular season, and that's a dominant performance from the point guard in a loss. Westbrook went off for 51 points in a triple-double, but his Thunder fell behind 2-0 in the first-round series with a 115-111 loss to the Houston Rockets. James Harden finished with 35 points in his second straight win over the fellow MVP candidate. The Thunder point guard set a franchise playoff scoring record to go along with 13 assists and 10 rebounds, but shot just 4-of-18 in the fourth quarter. That helped Houston rally late, which included a 10-0 run in the fourth to pull ahead for good. That was their first lead of the game, as they trailed by as many as 15 on the night. Lou Williams had 21 points and Eric Gordon added 22 off the bench, giving the Rockets contributions from everyone in the rally. Houston has now won five in a row over OKC including the regular season, and will look to keep control on the road for Game 3 on Friday night.
Warriors Blow Past Blazers in Game 2 Without Durant
The Golden State Warriors made the tough decision of resting Kevin Durant for Wednesday's Game 2, but the defending Western Conference champs didn't skip a beat in a 110-81 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors were led by Steph Curry's 19 points and Klay Thompson's 16 points, as they took a 2-0 series lead heading to Portland. JaVale McGee came off the bench to chip in 15 points, while Draymond Green had another all-around performance with 12 rebounds, 10 assists, six points, and three blocks. The multiple contributors helped the Warriors overcome Durant's calf injury. The game plan was to give him Game 2 off so he has five full days to rest before returning for Game 3. The Splash Bros. had an off night by their standards, as Curry shot just 6-of-18, while Thompson was 6-of-17 from the floor in the win. On the defensive end of the floor, they held the dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to just 23 points combined following their 75-point effort in Game 1. The series now shifts to Portland for Game 3 on Saturday.
Ducks Sweep Flames to Advance
The Anaheim Ducks made quick work of the Calgary Flames in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, completing the sweep on Wednesday with a 3-1 victory. Patrick Eaves and Nate Thompson each scored, while Ryan Getzlaf added an empty-netter late, as the Ducks now await the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-San Jose Sharks series. John Gibson returned to start in net after getting pulled in Game 3, and he bounced back to record 36 saves. Sean Monahan was the only one to beat Gibson on Wednesday, netting his fourth power-play goal in as many games. On the other end, Brian Elliott was pulled after giving up a goal at 5:38 of the first period. He was replaced by Chad Johnson, who made his NHL playoff debut, and gave up a goal just 68 seconds in. He would end the night with 20 saves, but got no goal support in the loss. Anaheim started the series with consecutive 3-2 home wins before rallying from a three-goal deficit on the road for a 5-4 overtime win in Game 3. Getzlaf led the way in the series with three goals and two assists, while Corey Perry also played hero with the game-winner in Game 3.