Judging the matchups in Rockets-Thunder series

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James not only never loses in a first-round series, but the man rarely loses first-round playoff games, period.

JOHN YANG: But to do this, to get the triple-double, you have got to be an all-around player. "It's great for business". Thunder forward Andre Roberson largely stymied Harden, limiting him to 20.5 points (with a 48.3 true shooting percentage), 7.3 rebounds and 12.3 assists per game. The media will have already made their MVP votes by the time Russell Westbrook and James Harden square off, but this series can go a long way in determining how we look back on who won the award.

Despite having a worse performance this year than his record-setting 2015-16 campaign, Curry is still averaging 25.3 points and 6.6 assists a game and has made an NBA-leading 324 three-pointers.

The Rockets scored 111.8 points per 100 possessions during the regular season, third-most in the National Basketball Association, with a record number of three-point shots attempted (3,306) and made (1,181). Look beyond Westbrook vs Harden vs Leonard vs LeBron.

OSCAR ROBERTSON: Well, I thought about it, and I just said I felt happy. This is the only series I tempted to pick as a sweep, but I'll go Wiz in 5.

"Obviously, there's some kind of insane percentage of how much he has the ball in his hands, how much he scores", Anderson said. "He just goes out there and plays relentless".

"Playing against the best players in the world, at the biggest stage, that's the goal for every player", Durant said. "It's a great experience. We've got to protect the 3-point line and make it (difficult for them)".

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The Thunder's margin for error in this series is negligible. In the previous two postseasons, Harden's minutes averaged more than 35 per game, and by the time they ended, he was exhausted.

Washington visited Atlanta in Game 1 for both teams back in October, and Atlanta will visit Washington for Game 1 of their playoff series Sunday. However, they remain relentless in taking D'Antoni's style to an extreme. Roberson and Bev are going to be the key figures in that sense, since the National Basketball Association won't be insane enough to force Harden or Westbrook to sit.

"It's going to be hard as hell", he said.

"I think he's excited from a leadership role to try to help guys that don't have that kind of experience, haven't been through it or are going through it for the first time, to try to help those guys", Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "It will be fun". But any way you slice it, Harden - who just weeks ago seemed to be pulling away - is no shoe-in here. "The playoff schedule is different, and because of that, there's a way where through the rest he is able to play more minutes, and I think most players' minutes probably do go up". Oklahoma City is armed to the teeth with bigs - Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Taj Gibson and Domantas Sabonis - yet was unable to overwhelm the Rockets with its advantage in size and bulk. Houston plays the Thunder, and the Clippers battle Utah. You have got to have the power drive to score. Westbrook averaged 34 points per game, 8.3 assists per game and 8 rebounds per game against Houston.

Unlike the Eastern Conference, whose seeding wasn't determined until last night, the final day of the regular season, the eight qualifying Western Conference teams were established by the end of the last scheduled game Sunday. OKC and Houston also played some entertaining games during the regular season-each of their first three matchups were decided by three points or less.

He takes pride in being a spark off the bench.

If George vs. James wasn't enough, we also get the return of playoff Lance Stephenson!

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