The Thunder already had to be perfect to compete with a team as gifted offensively as the Rockets

In all, the Thunder held a 14-point third-quarter lead. That advantage evaporated when Westbrook went to the bench. Oklahoma City outscored Houston by 14 points with its MVP front-runner on the floor. When he exited the game, the Rockets erased that lead wholly.

The Thunder’s late-game breakdown was reminiscent of their Game 2 woes, where the Oklahoma City offense reduced to ash behind Westbrook’s 18 fourth-quarter shot attempts. Of those 18, the Thunder guard only made four, while the rest of the team shot 4-of-11 in the final period.

The Thunder already had to be perfect to compete with a team as gifted offensively as the Rockets. Folding late in games won’t help their case, either.

Houston will look to wrap things up when they take Game 5 back home. The Thunder will need another Herculean effort from Westbrook, who posted both his third straight triple-double and the fastest playoff triple-double in the last 20 years, to stay alive.

If Oklahoma City wins, it earns a shot at redemption on its home floor in Game 6. But one thing is for sure: The Thunder can’t melt down the way they did in Game 2 — or on Sunday.

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In this respect, Ferraro is echoing voices of the game like THN’s Ken Campbell, another writer who’s been vocal in condemning the culture in the NHL that allows violence to escalate to this level.

Ferraro is consistent and openly condemning of dirty play wherever it comes from – as seen in a tweet today where someone asks “what about the Crosby slash on Methot” and he reacts equally disgustedly. Campbell, too, has written a column bemoaning the NHL’s lack of protection for “star players” like Crosby. Even Tie Domi (TIE DOMI!) has said that hockey needs to sort itself out and that the Pittsburgh Steelers Cheap Jerseys mentality of such things as “a hockey play” needs to be eliminated from the game.