The Rockets eventually found a way to close out a game in their playoff series with the Thunder.
And it allowed them to escape playoff elimination with a 105-103 win over Oklahoma City Thunder.
Chandler Parsons scored 27 points and Patrick Beverley added 16 points with point guard Jeremy Lin out with a bruised chest muscle. Houston avoided a 4-game sweep in the best-of-7 series.
Houston Rockets led in the 4th quarter of each of the last 2 games only to end up losing.
”We felt the pain and frustration from the last 2 losses … And we didn’t want that to happen for the 3rd straight time,” Parsons said.
It almost did.
Kevin Durant scored 5 quick points to cut the Rockets’ lead to two. James Toughen missed 2 shots for Houston after that and the Thunder had a last chance.
Reggie Jackson missed a jump shot and Serge Ibaka grabbed the rebound, but missed a layup at the buzzer.
A stunned Ibaka dropped to the court after the miss and covered his face with his hands.
Durant scored 38 points in Oklahoma City’s 2nd game without injured All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.
The victory kept Houston from being swept in the playoffs for the first time since 1996. NFL scores
”Getting this first win gives us confidence going back to Oklahoma City and anything can happen,” Harden said.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale was proud of his young team’s work in getting its first playoff victory.
Durant hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the Thunder’s Game 3 win. He wanted to get another one off on Monday, but Francisco Garcia compelled him to give up the ball.
”I was. I was going to try and win it,” Durant said. ”But he played good defense.”
Durant is looking forward to the series returning to Oklahoma City.
”We’ll be all right,” he said. ”We’re up 3-1 with a great opportunity to close it out at home. We couldn’t ask for a better situation, so hopefully we’ll get the job done.”
Harden scored 15 points, but also had 10 turnovers. He had 2 chances to extend Houston’s lead with under one minute left, but missed both, including shooting an air ball.
Getting the win allowed Harden to take his tough night in stride.
”I did have a double-double,” he deadpanned referring to his points and turnovers.
He picked up his 5th foul with about 7 minutes remaining, sending him to the bench. A dunk by Jackson seconds later cut Houston’s lead directly to 98-94.
Jackson got the Thunder inside 100-98 with a 3-pointer a couple of minutes later on. His 3-point attempt on the next trip down the floor rattled in and out of the basket.
Houston scored 4 fast points towards extend the lead directly to 104-98 before Harden returned to the game with approximately 3 minutes left.
He said he struggled to get going after sitting out in 4th quarter.
”The foul trouble kind of set me back,” he said. ”Coming in trying to make big shots, I was cold.”