It's time to stop saying Russell Westbrook's teammates are so much worse than James Harden's
Are the Houston Rockets a more talented offensive team than the Oklahoma City Thunder?
Are they a better roster, from top to bottom?
That's a harder argument to make when you really dig down into it.
We saw the difference between the two squads in the first half of Game 2. Houston kept the game close with 3s, but Oklahoma City was at its best over those first 24 minutes.
The Thunder starters suffocated the Rockets with stifling defense, set bone-crushing screens for Westbrook, and knocked down open looks created by their point guard.
Indeed, this Oklahoma City team is built around Westbrook in a similar fashion to the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers and Allen Iverson: defense-first teams driven by their point guards.
Yes, the Thunder could use another shooter or two around Westbrook for this roster. Then again, when he's looking off guys like Doug McDermott with the game on the line for Oklahoma City, it's hard to have too much sympathy for Westbrook.
In reality, both the Thunder and Rockets are one-man teams built to complement their superstar MVP candidates. The only real difference is which end of the court the two franchises are focused on.
"JaVale McGee, playoff contributor" is a real thing
The Warriors can keep resting Kevin Durant for the first round if they want, because JaVale McGee is here to pick up the slack.
The NBA journeyman made a solid contribution for Golden State this season, but there were always questions about how he'd hold up when the games really mattered.
So far, McGee has acquitted himself nicely. He can thank Draymond Green for that, of course. During Wednesday night's TNT broadcast, we got a brief glimpse of a mic'd-up Green coaching and instructing McGee on the court in the middle of the game.
That's the key, really. McGee can be a very solid NBA big man; he just needs someone to point him in the right direction and keep him in line.
We'll see if he can keep this up, but for now, McGee looks like an important piece of this Warriors team.
Who would have guessed?
Kyle TeradaKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Dwight Howard's NBA career is over
Here's how the first few minutes of Game 2 went for Howard:
The former best big man in the game played just 19 minutes against the Washington Wizards, as his former backup, Marcin Gortat, destroyed him in the post.
And with that, we can say goodbye to Howard as a meaningful NBA player. He messed up an opportunity to reinvent himself with Atlanta this year, instead continuing to demand post touches for hook shots that come up three feet short.
Our advice? Go to China, Dwight. Seriously. They'll pay you a handsome sum to dominate lesser opponents, and you can become a global ambassador for a population of more than a billion people.
Or you can keep watching your NBA star grow dimmer and dimmer, until the Association decides it no longer needs you. The choice is yours.