Rockets nip Thunder
Oklahoma City misses out on chance to sweep series
The Houston Rockets escaped playoff elimination with a 105-103 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night in Houston.
Chandler Parsons scored 27 points and Patrick Beverley added 16 points with point guard Jeremy Lin out with a bruised chest muscle. Houston avoided a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series.
The Rockets led in the fourth quarter of each of the last two games only to end up losing. And it almost happened again Monday.
Kevin Durant scored five quick points to cut the Rockets’ lead to two. James Harden missed two shots for Houston after that and the Thunder had a last chance.
Reggie Jackson missed a jump shot and Serge Ibaka grabbed the rebound, but missed a layup at the buzzer.
A stunned Ibaka fell to the court after the miss and covered his face with his hands.
Durant scored 38 points in Oklahoma City’s second game without injured All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.
The victory kept Houston from being swept in the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Game 5 is Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
Harden scored 15 points, but also had 10 turnovers. He had two chances to extend Houston’s lead with less than a minute left, but missed both of them, including shooting an air ball.
He picked up his fifth foul with about seven minutes remaining, sending him to the bench.
Jackson finished with 18 points in his second start in place of Westbrook, and Kevin Martin added 16.
Houston got 17 points from Omer Asik and 13 from Carlos Delfino.
Nets 110, Bulls 91: Brook Lopez had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists, and Brooklyn beat Chicago in New York, cutting the Bulls’ lead to 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.
Andray Blatche scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Gerald Wallace had consecutive baskets down the stretch as the Nets finally pulled away in a game they led most of the way, but never by too much.
Two days after rallying for a 142-134 triple-overtime victory, the Bulls were outscored 15-1 down the stretch and failed to set up a second-round series with Miami. Instead they will host Game 6 on Thursday.
Hawks 102, Pacers 91: Josh Smith scored 29 points as Atlanta built a 17-point lead at halftime, then withstood an Indiana comeback over the final two quarters to even the series with a victory in Game 4 in Atlanta.
After struggling much of the second half, Smith made every big play down the stretch. He swished a rare 3-pointer, came up with an offensive rebound to set up a 3 by Kyle Korver, then finished off a fast break with a right-handed dunk.
Paul George scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half as the Pacers made a game of it.
Tied at two wins apiece, the series returns to Indianapolis for Game 5 on Wednesday night.
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