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OKC Thunder: Rockets' Jeff Green continues to turn back the clock vs. former team

James Harden took one dribble and then fired a full-court chest pass to Jeff Green who snuck past the Thunder defense in transition.

After two gathered steps, Green threw down an easy left-handed slam to give the Rockets their first field goal after a near six-minute scoring drought in the third quarter. 

On the ensuing possession, Harden danced with the ball between his legs, performed a step-back move and knocked down a 3-pointer over an outstretched Nerlens Noel hand. 

The former Thunder teammates were the main offensive spark Saturday night in a 119-107 overtime loss to Oklahoma City in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. 

As the Rockets shot 15-of-50 (30%) from behind the arc, Houston was in dire need of balanced scoring and the duo provided it for them on Saturday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. 

With a combined 60 points, Harden and Green scored more than half of the Rockets' final score. But with the Rockets losing a close game, the duo's performance was overshadowed by Houston’s scoring just three points in overtime, causing Harden and Green to say the Rockets let one get away. 

“We had the game with 24 seconds and a one-point lead,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said. “But [OKC] executed, and some things messed up a little bit. I just told them you don’t get too high, you don’t get too low, it’s one game.”

Harden finished with 38 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, after fouling out early in overtime. It was a bounce-back game for him after shooting 5-of-16 (31%) from the field in Game 2 for 21 points.

Green backed him with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists. It was his second 22-point performance and third time scoring in double-figures in the series. 

When asked about his and Green’s performance, Harden had a simple answer for what was going so well for his running mate on Saturday.   

“Just making reads and having confidence,” he said. “He’s a very versatile big, he’s able to step outside and make the three but drive also. He’s been playing well throughout the entire series and since we’ve added him to our team.” 

For Game 4 Monday, Green says the Rockets will need to play defense as well as they did in Games 1 and 2 in order to win. Harden is confident the Rockets will play better on both sides of the ball.

“We just got to get on it in Game 4 and we will,” Harden said. “Our guys got to keep that confidence, offensively, as far as making shots. Defensively, we just got to lock back in and we’ll watch film tomorrow and get better.”

Related Photos
Houston Rockets' Jeff Green shoots against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)

Houston Rockets' Jeff Green shoots against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-21041fba91b7c37a0119dc11c54674d5.jpg" alt="Photo - Houston Rockets' Jeff Green shoots against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)" title="Houston Rockets' Jeff Green shoots against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)"><figcaption>Houston Rockets' Jeff Green shoots against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-03e793e8cb9824b8c15330abcf661d0f.jpg" alt="Photo - Aug 22, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets goes up for a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game three of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports" title="Aug 22, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets goes up for a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game three of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports"><figcaption>Aug 22, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets goes up for a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game three of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports</figcaption></figure>
James Jackson

James D. Jackson joined The Oklahoman in January 2020 to cover high school sports. He a University of Central Oklahoma graduate. During his time at UCO, James served as a sports reporter and Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Vista.... Read more ›

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