OKLAHOMA CITY – Russell Westbrook scored 32 points in a triple-double, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Houston Rockets 115-113 on Friday night to cut their deficit to 2-1 in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.
James Harden scored 44 points for Houston, but he missed a 3-pointer that could have won the game just before time expired.
Westbrook also had 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his second straight triple-double and the seventh playoff triple-double of his career. Taj Gibson added 20 points and Andre Roberson and Victor Oladipo each scored 12 for the Thunder, who shot 55 percent from the field.
The Thunder blew a double-digit lead in the second half of Game 2, and barely hung on this time. Lou Williams scored 22 points and Ryan Anderson added 18 for the Rockets.
Celtics 104, Bulls 87
CHICAGO – Al Horford had 18 points and eight rebounds, Isaiah Thomas scored 16 points, and top-seeded Boston beat Chicago after dropping the first two games of their opening-round series at home.
The Celtics pulled away after a 20-point lead shrunk to one early in the third quarter and put themselves in position to tie a series that was in danger of slipping away from them. Game 4 is Sunday in Chicago.
Dwyane Wade scored 18 for Chicago. Jimmy Butler had 14 points on 7-of-21 shooting, and the offense simply didn’t click the way it had been, with Rajon Rondo out indefinitely with a broken right thumb. Chicago shot about 39 percent and committed 18 turnovers.
Thomas, grieving the death of his sister in a car accident last week, rejoined the team after spending time with his family in Tacoma, Washington. He scored eight points in the third quarter, helping the Celtics regain control.
Clippers 111, Jazz 106
SALT LAKE CITY – Chris Paul scored 34 points and Los Angeles rallied to beat Utah and take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
The Jazz led most of the game before Paul took over in the fourth quarter and powered a 15-0 run that gave the Clippers a 103-96 lead with 2:09 remaining. Utah never led again.
The win negated a spectacular night from Gordon Hayward, who scored a career-high 40 points. But Paul simply dominated the fourth quarter, scoring nine straight himself during the run and getting wherever he wanted on the floor. He iced the game with a pair of free throws with 5.3 seconds remaining and finished with seven rebounds and 10 assists.
DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers, who played without the injured Blake Griffin in the second half. Luc Mbah a Moute scored a career playoff-high 15 points.
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