Rockets rally to eliminate Thunder
Lou Williams scored 10 points during an opening burst in the fourth quarter, and James Harden finished with a team-high 34 points as the Houston Rockets rallied for a 105-99 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night to claim their Western Conference first-round playoff series in five games.
April 25, 2017 - 9:36 pm
Updated April 25, 2017 - 11:00 pm
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 34 points and his supporting cast helped Houston overcome a 47-point game by Russell Westbrook to get a 105-99 victory over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
The Thunder head home a year after advancing to the Western Conference finals after Houston took this series 4-1.
The Rockets used a 5-1 run, with all their points coming on free throws, to pull away from the Thunder and make it 98-91. Victor Oladipo threw a pass about 5 feet above Westbrook’s head and out of bounds on the next possession and Harden made a layup on the other end with about 3 minutes left.
The Rockets began eating up the clock after that and Oklahoma City missed shot after shot that could have closed the gap.
Houston couldn’t add to its lead though and the Thunder cut it to 4 points twice in the final seconds, with the second one coming on a basket by Alex Abrines. But Harden made two free throws both times they got close to secure the win.
SPURS 116, GRIZZLIES 103
SAN ANTONIO — Kawhi Leonard had 28 points and San Antonio rebounded from two discouraging road losses to beat Memphis and take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.
San Antonio shot 14 for 28 on 3-point attempts, two off its postseason record, including 5-for-7 shooting by Patty Mills.
Mills finished with 20 points and Tony Parker added 16.
Mike Conley had 26 points and Marc Gasol added 17 for the Grizzlies, who have lost nine straight postseason games in San Antonio.
With each team winning on its homecourt, Game 6 is Thursday night in Memphis.
JAZZ 96,CLIPPERS 92
LOS ANGELES — Gordon Hayward scored 27 points, Utah controlled the paint, and the Jazz beat the Clippers 96-92 to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Hayward returned after missing most of Utah’s win in Game 4 because of food poisoning that caused him to lose weight and energy.
Chris Paul’s 3-pointer drew the Clippers within two with 5 seconds left. After George Hill hit two free throws, Paul struggled getting the ball under control near the sideline and couldn’t do anything as time expired.
The Jazz made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including three by Rodney Hood, who finished with 16 points.
Paul led the Clippers with 28 points and J.J. Redick added 26 with injured star Blake Griffin watching from the bench, his right foot encased in a black walking boot.
The Jazz can clinch the series with a victory in Game 6 on Friday night in Salt Lake City.