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OKC Thunder: Five takeaways from Game 5 loss to Rockets

The Rockets blew past the Thunder 114-80 in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. 

Here are five takeaways from the game: 

Schroder, Tucker ejected

Dennis Schroder had a monster first half. While the starters struggled, Schroder scored 19 points and was active on defense. 

He was on pace to break another playoff career high in scoring. 

But with 6:51 left in the third quarter, Schroder and Rockets center P.J. Tucker were ejected from the game. 

As Schroder fought through a Tucker screen, Schroder struck Tucker below the belt. Tucker, none too pleased, gave Schroder a soft head butt from behind. 

The play was reviewed and both players were tossed. It was a win for the Rockets. 

The Thunder was already trailing by 17 points, and it was getting little offensive production outside of Schroder. 

Starting slow

The Thunder’s starting lineup of Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams entered the game having been outscored in the series by 34 points per 100 possessions. 

Thunder coach Billy Donovan has stuck with the group, and it started similarly slow in Game 5. 

The Thunder’s starters were outscored 16-7 to begin the game, and OKC fell into a 24-14 first-quarter hole. 

The Thunder shot 5-of-26 and 1-of-12 from 3-point range in the first quarter. 

The same Thunder lineup was outscored 8-0 to start the third quarter before Donovan subbed out Dort in favor of Schroder two minutes into the second half. 

The Rockets started the second half on a 19-2 run. 

Gilgeous-Alexander, Gallinari struggle 

Gilgeous-Alexander shot 2-of-8 and Gallinari was 0-of-5. 

Two players that averaged a combined 38 points this season combined for five points in Game 5. 

They both turned the ball over four times. 

Dort dilemma 

Dort’s defense against James Harden will continue to earn him minutes, but his offense sometimes subtracts from what his defense adds. 

That was the case Saturday. 

The Rockets left Dort wide open, and the Thunder rookie gave Houston what it wanted. 

Dort shot 2-of-11 in the first half and 0-7 from 3-point range. Six of those long-range misses came in the first quarter. 

He finished 3-of-16 for the game and 0-of-9 from 3-point range.

As for his defense against Harden, it wasn’t as good in Game 5. The Rockets star shot 11-of-15 and 4-of-8 from 3-point range for 31 points. 

Westbrook returns 

Rockets guard Russell Westbrook had a surprisingly quiet series debut. 

He played 24 minutes and tallied seven points, seven assists and six rebounds. Westbrook shot 3-of-13 from the floor. 

He rocked the baby against his former team, busting out the celebration against Gilgeous-Alexander in the first quarter. 

Westbrook missed the first four games of the series with a right quadriceps strain. 

Related Photos
Houston Rockets' P.J. Tucker, center, is held back by Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams, right, as he confronts Dennis Schroder (17) after a foul during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Both players were ejected. Both Schroder and Tucker were ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Houston Rockets' P.J. Tucker, center, is held back by Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams, right, as he confronts Dennis Schroder (17) after a foul during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Both players were ejected....

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1906d412977729e5e3bb9b22a346409c.jpg" alt="Photo - Houston Rockets' P.J. Tucker, center, is held back by Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams, right, as he confronts Dennis Schroder (17) after a foul during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Both players were ejected. Both Schroder and Tucker were ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)" title="Houston Rockets' P.J. Tucker, center, is held back by Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams, right, as he confronts Dennis Schroder (17) after a foul during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Both players were ejected. Both Schroder and Tucker were ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)"><figcaption>Houston Rockets' P.J. Tucker, center, is held back by Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams, right, as he confronts Dennis Schroder (17) after a foul during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Both players were ejected. Both Schroder and Tucker were ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7154d46c30ca4b26a754bd235e6461d9.jpg" alt="Photo - Aug 29, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder (17) drives to the basket against Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the second quarter in game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports" title="Aug 29, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder (17) drives to the basket against Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the second quarter in game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports"><figcaption>Aug 29, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder (17) drives to the basket against Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the second quarter in game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports</figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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