Final

Oklahoma City wins series 4-2 (Game 5 of 6)

Oklahoma City wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, April 21st
Rockets91Final
Thunder120
Game 2: Wednesday, April 24th
Rockets102Final
Thunder105
Game 3: Saturday, April 27th
Thunder104Final
Rockets101
Game 4: Monday, April 29th
Thunder103Final
Rockets105
Game 5: Wednesday, May 1st
Rockets107Final
Thunder100
Game 6: Friday, May 3rd
Thunder103Final
Rockets94

Rockets 107

(45-37, 16-25 away)

Thunder 100

(60-22, 34-7 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    9:30 PM ET, May 1, 2013

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 30 20 37 20107
    OKC 26 17 32 25100

    Top Performers

    Houston: J. Harden 31 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Oklahoma City: K. Durant 36 Pts, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Ailing James Harden, Rockets cut Thunder lead to 3-2

    ESPN.com news services

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden lacked the energy to get through a morning shootaround. Then he found the strength to fill the Houston Rockets with life in a playoff series that had started to look hopeless.

    Harden scored 31 points and sank seven 3-pointers while fighting flu-like symptoms, and the Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-100 on Wednesday night to pull within 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.

    Harden made the first seven 3s he tried, and Houston led by as many as 16 to win its second straight, getting halfway to becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.

    "I just tried to go out there and give it all I had," Harden said, adding that he had slept all day. "It was a win or go home, so I got some shots to fall and I just tried to not think about it."

    The Rockets played without starting point guard Jeremy Lin for the second straight game because of a bruised chest muscle. Key reserve Carlos Delfino didn't play in the second half because of a sore left foot.

    They still had plenty of offense, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds from Omer Asik, and 18 points and five 3-pointers from Francisco Garcia. Patrick Beverley scored 14, and Aaron Brooks and Chandler Parsons chipped in 10 apiece.

    "We just came out here and played pressure-free. Go out there and just hoop, that was our mindset going into the game," Harden said. "The same thing back at home: Just go out there and hoop. We're an eighth seed. Nobody's expecting us to win. So just give it what we've got. Simple."

    Oklahoma City eliminated half of Houston's big lead before managing to stymie its own comeback.

    Apparently doubting they could overcome an eight-point lead on their home court without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, the Thunder resorted to intentionally fouling Asik -- a 54 percent career foul shooter -- with 5:33 to play. Asik went 8-for-12 from the line, extending Houston's lead to 101-92 with 3:53 remaining before Oklahoma City gave up the tactic.

    Kevin Durant scored 36 points for Oklahoma City, which now must travel to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night. Durant was scoreless in the fourth quarter, missing all five of his shots, and picked up a technical foul with 22.5 seconds left for complaining to referee Bill Spooner.

    "We was on our way back, and then also the hack-a-whatever-his-name-is," Durant said, forgetting Asik's name, "it kind of slowed the rhythm down a little bit."

    Coach Scott Brooks said he was about to stop ordering the fouls against Asik if his team had made a shot on one particular possession. It didn't happen, and the 7-footer from Turkey made him pay.

    "Give him credit. He stepped up and made shots and made his free throws," Brooks said. "That's a strategy we don't use often."

    Asik missed three of his first six free throws, and the Thunder continued fouling him intentionally even after getting within 98-92 with 4:12 remaining. Asik hit three of his next four and then blocked a shot by Thabo Sefolosha as Houston started extending its lead again.

    Reggie Jackson contributed 20 points for the Thunder, who leaned heavily on Durant for a third straight game with Westbrook out for the playoffs with a right knee injury. Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City's sixth man, who was acquired in a preseason trade for Harden, missed his first nine shots before making a jumper in the fourth quarter to finish with three points.

    "They miss him everywhere. How would you not? He's one of the top players in the league," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "They probably miss him in the locker room, miss him in shootaround, miss him on the bus, miss him on the plane, miss him on offense, miss him on defense. Did I miss anything?"

    The Rockets made a series-high 14 3-pointers on 35 attempts, making up for getting outscored in the paint, in second-chance points and on the fast break. Oklahoma City made just 8 of 33 from 3-point range, missing 14 of its first 15 attempts.

    Beverley, who made a lunging attempt at a steal in Game 2 that resulted in the knee injury that knocked out Westbrook, received a hearty boo during pregame introductions, then got booed again each time he touched the ball.

    Undeterred, he drove against Jackson for the first basket of the game, and the Rockets got out to a strong start. Beverley was called for a technical foul for thrusting his left forearm into Jackson after the Thunder guard made a steal attempt similar to the one that ended up with Westbrook getting hurt.

    "My teammates told me to come out here and stay aggressive. This is a family unit with this team," Beverley said. "I tried to not hear the boos and tried to go out and stay focused on the game plan today."

    Durant hit the free throw after Beverley's technical to complete a string of eight straight Oklahoma City points and put the Thunder up 17-16, but Houston responded with its own 8-0 run and wouldn't trail again.

    Game notes


    Westbrook watched the game from a suite. He was unable to be on the bench because his leg needed to be extended. Thunder fans wrote get-well messages to Westbrook on a banner before the game, the Oklahoman reported. ... With the clock running down at the end of the game, McHale told Harden to "go ahead and shoot it if you like," but Harden opted to take the shot-clock violation. Derek Fisher popped in a 3-pointer for Oklahoma City at the final buzzer.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Research Notes

    How value is Russell Westbrook to the Thunder? He is extremely valuable, especially on the DEFENSIVE end of the court. This postseason, his absence has caused a major lapse in Oklahoma City's defense. Offensive, defensive and net ratings are measures of a team's points per 100 possessions.
      [+]
    Kevin Martin was 0-of-5 on catch-and-shoot jumpers in Game 5, and has made 6-of-25 (24 percent) in the series. Martin led the team in efficiency on catch-and-shoot jumpers during the regular season, averaging 1.26 points per play while shooting 43.7 percent.
    James Harden made a playoff career-high 7 3-pointers, and his average made shot came 19.8 feet from the basket. Harden shot 4-of-25 from 3-point distance in the first 4 games of the series, and his average made shot was 5.2 feet of the basket.
    Kevin Durant was the primary ball handler on 14 of his 19 4th-quarter touches in Game 5, but failed to score. Durant is averaging 24 more touches, mostly in the backcourt as the team's primary ball handler, since Russell Westbrook's injury.
      [+]

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