Omer Asik anchors the Rockets
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
Omer Asik doesn’t have much of an offensive game to speak of. His hands, which are some of the most deft and versatile in the league on the defensive end, turn into bricks when he has the ball in his hands. In the Houston Rockets’ 107-100 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, however, he was the anchor.
Even more impressive than his defense, which has been elite all year, was Asik’s 13-of-18 performance from the free-throw line on Wednesday. A 56.2% free-throw shooter during the regular season, Asik took advantage of the Thunder’s repeated fouling to keep Houston on top down the stretch.
Asik’s range as a scorer is nonexistent, but around the basket, he’s proven extremely effective.
After consecutive losses, the Thunder are reeling. Their offense looks broken without Russell Westbrook. Kevin Durant scored 36 points, but only two other Thunder players scored in double figures. The Rockets were the second-worst defensive team in the Western Conference playoffs, outside of the Los Angeles Lakers. The one player they can always count on that end is Asik. With James Harden rediscovering his stroke Wednesday, Asik’s defense may be the other factor in a possible Rockets upset.
Terry makes a name for himself: J.R. Smith said he didn’t know who Jason Terry was before Wednesday’s game. After the Boston Celtics’ 92-86 win over the New York Knicks, in which Terry had 17 points, Smith doesn’t have much of an excuse to pretend anymore.
Pacers bounce back: After a couple of poor games, Paul George scored 21 points on a hyper-efficient 7-of-8 shooting performance. The Pacers also outrebounded the Atlanta Hawks 58-21 en route to a convincing 106-83 victory.
Only two games on the schedule for Thursday (all times p.m. Eastern):
- The Chicago Bulls return home to try and close out their series with the Brooklyn Nets at 8:00 on TNT.
- After a contentious game that involved accusations of foul play on both sides, the Golden State Warriors will attempt to finish the job against the Denver Nuggets at Oracle Arena at 10:30 on TNT.
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