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OKC's Secret Weapon Against James Harden And The Houston Rockets

(via Action Network)

(via Action Network)

After taking a 2-0 series lead over the OKC Thunder, the Rockets looked in a good position to close things out and move on to the West Semis. But, as tends to happen in the playoffs, things quickly turned around.

The Thunder came out on fire in Games 3 and 4, good enough to win back-to-back games and even the series.

The Rockets have partly themselves to blame (they shot 5-for-26 from deep over the final 18 minutes), but much credit needs to be given to the Thunder, who fought and clawed their way back into the game.

Of course, one of their biggest advantages may be the play of Luguentz Dort, who has done an absolutely amazing job at guarding one of the best scorers in NBA history:

Harden is just 5/34 when guarded by Dort, making him first among players that have guarded Harden at least 30 total possessions this season.

Other factors are no doubt at play, but Dort's ability to defend Harden has been a huge reason why they find themselves tied up in this series.

If he can continue to defend Harden like this, especially in the closing minutes of the game, they might just pull this one out. Without Russell Westbrook or a true starting-caliber center, James Harden has to play well for the Rockets to win.

Unfortunately for him, Dort seems to have him figured out... at least, for now.