James Harden had 34 points and his supporting cast helped the Houston Rockets overcome a 47-point game by Russell Westbrook
James Harden had 34 points and his supporting cast helped the Houston Rockets overcome a 47-point game by Russell Westbrook to get a 105-99 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night to advance to the Western Conference semi-finals.
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 five feet above Westbrooks head and out of bounds on the next possession and Harden made a layup on the other end with three minutes left. The Rockets began eating up the clock after that and Oklahoma City missed shot after shot that could have closed the gap.
After scoring 20 points in the third quarter, Westbrook made just two of 11 fourth-quarter shots in a disappointing end to a stellar season where he became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double by scoring an NBA-best 31.6 points a game, with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists. He also set an NBA record for most triple-doubles with 42 to help the Thunder withstand the loss of Kevin Durant in free agency.
He had 11 rebounds and nine assists to come just shy of his fourth straight triple-double in this series, but he made just five of a career-high 18 three-point attempts.
Lou Williams added 22 points and Patrick Beverley had 15 to help the Rockets get out of the first round for the second time in three seasons in front of a crowd that included Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.