Thunder Holds Off Rockets In Game 3 For Much-Needed Win
OKLAHOMA CITY - Russell Westbrook notched his second consecutive triple-double to lift the Thunder to a 115-113 win over the Rockets on Friday night.
Westbrook finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists as Houston now leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Sunday.
James Harden had a chance to win the game with a 3-pointer in the final seconds, but his shot drew front iron as the Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd erupted.
While it was a close finish, the Thunder set the tone early in the game by playing efficient basketball and led by as many as 15 points in the first half. Despite the hot start, the Rockets came roaring back.
After OKC led 65-58 at halftime, the Rockets opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run to take their first lead of the game. The Thunder quickly responded with a 9-0 run of its own to regain control, but it was back-and-forth basketball the rest of the way.
With the pressure mounting in crunch time, Westbrook drained a jumper with 1:43 left to put the Thunder up 110-105, but Harden quickly drew a foul on Victor Oladipo while shooting a 3-pointer to bring Houston back within two points. After Westbrook went down and made only one of his two free throw attempts, Harden continued his stellar play by tying the game at 111-111 with a clutch 3-pointer with 52 seconds on the clock.
The Thunder needed a response, and Steven Adams came through. On the next OKC possession Westbrook missed on his first 3-pointer of the game, but Adams was in the right spot and tipped in the miss to give OKC a two-point lead with 35 seconds left.
Westbrook kept Houston in the game until the final buzzer by missing two free throws in the final nine seconds, but OKC ultimately held on for a much-needed win.
Along with Westbrook’s big stat-line, Taj Gibson came up huge for OKC with 20 points on 10-for-13 shooting while Oladipo and Andre Roberson each added 12 points. Enes Kanter totaled 10 points in 10 minutes off the bench and Alex Abrines scored eight of his own.
Harden led Houston with 44 points, but 18 came from the free throw line. Lou Williams scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half and Ryan Anderson played well with 18 points.
Game 4 is set for Sunday at 2:30 p.m.