Playoff P(ush) Underway For OKC in Win Over Rockets
On a night where the Thunder HAD to win to keep from falling to the eight spot in the west, OKC faced an uphill battle all night.
The Thunder got it going early with Russell Westbrook, but James Harden couldn’t miss in the first half. He helped Houston build a nine point halftime lead thanks to an and one runner on Steven Adams.
In the second half, OKC got off to a slow start until the third quarter. OKC trailed by as many as 15 points. Then the Thunder went on a 15-0 run. Terrance Ferguson part of that by hitting a three. Ferguson shot 60% from the field adding 16 points.
The game was wild and chippy throughout. In the fourth, Paul George got run over by PJ Tucker which led to a Chris Paul layup giving Houston a 104-102 lead. Then PJ Tucker added a tip in, the Rockets were up four.
With under 23 seconds to play Russell Westbrook hit a clutch three to pull the Thunder to within one, 108-107. Westbrook had his 33rd triple double of the season. 29 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists.
The Thunder were out of timeouts. OKC fouled James Harden on the inbound. To that point, Harden had hit 12-12 from the line. He missed his second and the Rockets had a 111-109 lead.
The Thunder had to make something happen quick and Russell Westbrook hit Paul George in the corner for a go ahead three with just over a second remaining. George had 27 points even though it was a tough shooting night. 112-111 OKC.
Houston called timeout, advanced the ball, and James Harden had a great look at a game winning three, but it hit off the front iron and OKC survived, 112-111.
With the Jazz winning earlier in the night, it eliminated OKC from landing the five seed in the West. The Thunder still have chances to land in the six, seven or eight seed depending on what happens on the final night of action across the league. Thunder need to win, Portland needs to beat Sacramento, and Denver needs to beat Minnesota for OKC to square off with Portland as a six seed.