The Houston Rockets have a commanding lead on the Oklahoma City Thunder in tonight’s Game 5 of the tied series. Midway through the third quarter, each team lost a valuable role player, after a confrontation between Rockets forward P.J. Tucker and OKC guard Dennis Schröder.
With Houston up 67-49 with the ball, Tucker went to set a screen on Schröder to free up Rockets star James Harden. As he went to fight through the screen, Schröder pretty clearly took a shot at Tucker’s groin, sending both to the floor. Tucker was heated when he got up.
He got right into it, standing behind Schröder, and lightly headbutting him in the back of the head. It didn’t look like a severe action, but an inappropriate one in any case. Both players were ejected from the game after the incident.
The loss of Schröder was especially impactful for the Thunder. With 19 points in just 21 points, he is still their leading scorer, with just a few minutes left in the game. Tucker had five points and six rebounds in 21 minutes for Houston.
PJ Tucker got into Dennis Schroder's face 😳 pic.twitter.com/fe4My9eKWG
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 30, 2020
Another angle, showing the initial hit on P.J. Tucker a bit more clearly from the opposite side:
— The League Report (@thaleaguereport) August 30, 2020
Dennis Schröder has helped the Oklahoma City Thunder form a really impressive guard trio with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander this season. Unfortunately for them tonight, those two haven’t had great games—Paul has 16 points but young star SGA has just four points on eight attempts in 34 minutes.
Even with a limited Russell Westbrook, the Rockets have controlled this one and dominated the second half. James Harden leads all scorers with 31 points on a very efficient 11-of-15 shooting.
The Rockets are minutes away from going up 3-2 in this series, one of the most competitive of the first round of the NBA Playoffs so far. Game 6 is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 29.