Russell Westbrook totaled 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, but couldn’t get enough help from his teammates as the Rockets beat the Thunder, 105-99 on Tuesday night inside the Toyota Center.
Related: Thunder Social Scene
James Harden tallied 34 points to lead the Rockets, but Houston’s bench scored 44 points compared to OKC’s 22.
Even though it was Westbrook who headlined the series, the series came down to when he wasn’t on the court.
The Thunder held a 77-72 lead entering the fourth quarter, but Westbrook took a breather to open the frame and the Rockets took full advantage of the opportunity. With Westbrook off the floor, the Thunder went from holding a five-point lead to trailing by five points by the time their leader returned with 9:15 left in the game.
Westbrook on the bench = 14-4 run by Houston— Brad Galbreath (@bradgalbreath) April 26, 2017
Westbrook on the bench = 14-4 run by Houston
With the momentum now in possession of the Rockets, Houston began to pull away down the stretch and held off a heroic effort from a worn-out Westbrook.
Same ol same ol..@OKCThunder lose end of 3rd qtr lead ... and lose game for 3rd time in 4 games. @NEWS9. Hou rallied in 4th just 5x all yr— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) April 26, 2017
Same ol same ol..@OKCThunder lose end of 3rd qtr lead ... and lose game for 3rd time in 4 games. @NEWS9. Hou rallied in 4th just 5x all yr
It was a tragic loss for the Thunder, especially since it ends the season, but OKC losing covers up a phenomenal third quarter from Westbrook.
After crumbling in the second quarter and trailing by seven points at halftime, it was Westbrook who fueled an entertaining third-quarter surge. Westbrook played out of his mind in the frame, totaling 20 points while draining one spectacular 3-pointer after another. But despite his hot performance, Billy Donovan made the questionable decision to sit Westbrook to start the fourth quarter as Houston regained control.
Alex Abrines and Jerami Grant were OKC’s second leading scorers with 11 points apiece while Victor Oladipo struggled yet again. Oladipo made only 4-of-17 shot attempts for 10 points, while Taj Gibson added 10 points of his own.
Lou Williams scored 22 points off the bench for Houston while Patrick Beverley added 15.
The Rockets now advance to play the winner of the Spurs and Grizzlies series.