Rockets Beat Thunder, Clinch Playoff Spot
Not only did the Rockets clinch a playoff spot on Friday night with their 50th win, they got it done against a team they hadn’t beaten all season. The fourth time was the charm as they came away with a 111-107 win at Toyota Center.
James Harden led the way with 39 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Chandler Parsons scored 23. The Rockets made 32 of 37 free throw attempts, Harden took 20, knocking down 17.
Houston made down five of it’s first six shots to grab an early 14-4 lead, but after a Thunder timeout, the Rockets missed six straight shots and Oklahoma City scored seven in a row, cutting the Houston lead to three, and after the first quarter they led 27-23. Parsons led all scorers with nine points.
The Rockets started the second quarter on a 16-6 run to push their lead to 14, but Oklahoma City pushed back and was able to cut the lead to five at halftime. Harden scored 10 points in the quarter to give him 17 for the half. Serge Ibaka led the Thunder with 11 and blocked four shots.
Oklahoma City tied the game within the first minute of the second half, and a Serge Ibaka dunk 2:15 into the third quarter gave them their first lead at 54-52. They knocked down 14 of their first 19 shots of the second half to take a 79-71 lead, but the Rockets closed the quarter with an 11-5 run to get within a basket.
Jeremy Lin gave the Rockets the lead when he started the fourth quarter by knocking down a three pointer, and the lead changed hands six more times before the Rockets grabbed it for good with 5:10 remaining thanks to a pair of Parsons free throws.
Francisco Garcia gave Houston a six point after hitting a three with 2:42 to play, but with 1:01 remaining Kevin Durant hit a three to make it a one point game again. The Rockets held on by making all six free throws in the game’s last 38 seconds.
Durant led the Thunder with 28 points. It’s his 40th straight game scoring 25 or more, matching Michael Jordan’s career long streak. Ibaka finished with 27 points and six blocks.
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