Rockets overcome Westbrook's 51, take 2-0 lead over Thunder



HOUSTON — Russell Westbrook put up gaudy numbers on Wednesday night.


The Houston Rockets got a more modest performance from James Harden, but a collective scoring effort helped them rally for a 115-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.


“It wasn’t pretty,” Harden said. “We didn’t make a lot of shots. We gave them the early lead and we had to fight our way back and we did. We didn’t give up. We continued to fight and grind and figure out a way to win.”


Harden scored 35 points and the Rockets overcame 51 points from Westbrook in the highest-scoring triple-double in playoff history. Westbrook set a franchise playoff scoring record and added 13 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the sixth career playoff triple-double for Westbrook, who had an NBA-record 42 in the regular season.


But he shot just 4 for 18 in the fourth quarter and the Rockets clawed back from a double-digit deficit.


He was not in the mood to talk about his statistics after the game.


“I don’t give a (expletive) about the line,” he said before glaring at reporters. “We lost.”


Thunder coach Billy Donovan thought Westbrook might have gotten tired late after playing the entire fourth quarter, but Westbrook brushed off that notion.


“Nah, I was all right,” he said.


Game 3 is Friday night in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook drives past Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley during the first half in Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook drives past Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley during the first half in Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

(The Associated Press)


The game was tied before Houston scored 10 straight points with 3-pointers from Harden, Patrick Beverley and Eric Gordon to make it 114-104 with 1:22 remaining.


“Down the stretch you’ve just got to be ready,” Gordon said. “James draws a lot of attention. So I was ready for that shot. It was great timing to knock down a shot like that.”


Westbrook had four straight points to start a 7-1 run after that, but the Thunder wouldn’t get any closer.


This was a much different game than the series opener, when Houston routed the Thunder 118-87. On Wednesday night, Houston trailed by as many as 15 and didn’t take a lead until the fourth quarter.


The Rockets benefited from a balanced scoring attack, with Lou Williams adding 21, Gordon scoring 22 off the bench and Game 1 star Beverley chipping in 15.


Houston used a big run early in the fourth quarter to go on top for the first time in the game with about eight minutes remaining. Harden’s 3 about three minutes later made it 104-100.


Andre Roberson added a tip-in layup for the Thunder before two free throws by Westbrook tied it at 104-all with about 3 minutes left.


The Thunder led by seven with about nine minutes left in the third quarter before Westbrook had four quick points to extend the lead to 79-68. Houston scored the next six points, but Oklahoma City answered with seven points in a row after that, with five from Westbrook, to extend the lead to 86-74 with about 3 minutes left in the quarter.


The Thunder led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but Houston had cut the lead to 68-62 at halftime.

Tags:
russell westbrook
oklahoma city thunder
james harden
houston rockets
nba

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