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NBA playoffs: James Harden overcomes flu to lifts Rockets over Thunder

Published May 1, 2013 11:14 pm

Rockets guard hits first seven 3-pointers in scoring 31 points.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Oklahoma City • James Harden scored 31 points and sank seven 3-pointers while fighting through flu-like symptoms, and the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-100 Wednesday night to pull within 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.

Harden made the first seven 3s he tried and Houston led by as many as 16 before fending off a rally that Oklahoma City helped stymie with its own strategy.

The Thunder, apparently doubting they could overcome an eight-point lead on their home court without Russell Westbrook, resorted to intentionally fouling Omer Asik — a 54 percent career foul shooter — with 5:33 to play. Asik went 8 for 12 from the line, extending Houston's lead to 101-92 with 3:53 remaining before Oklahoma City gave up the tactic.

Kevin Durant finished with 36 points for Oklahoma City, which must now travel to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night.

The Rockets played without starting point guard Jeremy Lin for the second straight game because of a bruised chest muscle. Key reserve Carlos Delfino didn't play in the second half because of a sore left foot.

They still had plenty of offense to earn their second straight win, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds from Asik and 18 points and five 3-pointers from Francisco Garcia. Patrick Beverley scored 14 and Aaron Brooks and Chandler Parsons chipped in 10 apiece.

Reggie Jackson contributed 20 points for the Thunder, who leaned heavily on Durant for a third straight game with Westbrook out for the playoffs with a right knee injury. But Durant did not score in the fourth quarter after helping Oklahoma City cut the 16-point deficit in half late in the third quarter.

Durant picked up a technical foul with 22 seconds left for complaining to official Bill Spooner.

Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City's sixth man who was acquired in a preseason trade for Harden, missed his first nine shots before making a jumper in the fourth quarter to finish with three points.

The Rockets made a series-high 14 3-pointers on 35 attempts, making up for getting outscored in the paint, in second-chance points and on the fast break. Oklahoma City made just 8 of 33 from 3-point range, missing 14 of its first 15 attempts.

Beverley, who made a lunging attempt at a steal in Game 2 that resulted in the knee injury that knocked out Westbrook, received a hearty boo during pregame introductions, then got booed again each time he touched the ball.

Undeterred, he drove against Jackson for the first basket of the game and the Rockets got out to a strong start. Beverley was called for a technical foul for thrusting his left forearm into Jackson after the Thunder guard made a steal attempt similar to the one that ended up with Westbrook getting hurt. —

Playoffs schedule

O Wednesday

• Boston 92, New York 86

Knicks lead series 3-2

• Indiana 106, Atlanta 83

Pacers lead series 3-2

• Houston 107, Oklahoma City 100, Thunder lead series 3-2

Thursday

• Brooklyn at Chicago, 6 p.m., TNT

Bulls lead series 3-2

• Denver at Golden State, 8:30 p.m., TNT

Warriors lead series 3-2 —

Rockets 107, Thunder 100

FG FT Reb

Houston Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Garcia 40:12 6-14 1-2 1-5 3 4 18

Parsons 42:01 4-12 2-4 0-5 4 4 10

Asik 37:52 4-6 13-18 1-11 0 4 21

Beverley 38:55 5-11 2-2 3-8 1 4 14

Harden 41:34 10-16 4-5 0-8 3 2 31

Delfino 10:14 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 0

Smith 10:08 1-1 1-2 0-2 0 2 3

Brooks 19:04 4-11 2-4 1-3 3 1 10

Totals 240:00 34-72 25-37 6-42 15 22 107

Percentages: FG .472, FT .676. 3-Point Goals: 14-35, .400 (Harden 7-9, Garcia 5-12, Beverley 2-5, Delfino 0-1, Brooks 0-3, Parsons 0-5). Team Rebounds: 16. Team Turnovers: 15 (21 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (Asik 2, Garcia 2, Beverley). Turnovers: 12 (Harden 3, Parsons 3, Asik 2, Garcia 2, Beverley, Brooks). Steals: 4 (Beverley, Garcia, Harden, Smith). Technical Fouls: Beverley, 5:40 first.

FG FT Reb

OK C Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Durant 44:42 11-23 13-16 1-7 7 3 36

Ibaka 35:10 7-14 0-0 5-9 1 4 14

Perkins 15:38 1-3 0-0 1-5 1 3 2

Jackson 32:10 7-15 4-6 0-4 3 4 20

Sefolsha 35:49 3-8 0-0 3-8 6 2 9

Martin 22:50 1-10 1-2 0-4 1 2 3

Fisher 29:04 2-6 2-4 0-2 0 5 8

Liggins 18:06 1-4 0-0 0-2 1 4 2

Collison 6:32 3-3 0-0 2-2 0 1 6

Totals 240:01 36-86 20-28 12-43 20 28 100

Percentages: FG .419, FT .714. 3-Point Goals: 8-33, .242 (Sefolosha 3-6, Fisher 2-5, Jackson 2-6, Durant 1-8, Ibaka 0-1, Liggins 0-2, Martin 0-5). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 9 (10 PTS). Blocked Shots: 10 (Collison 2, Ibaka 2, Jackson 2, Sefolosha 2, Durant, Liggins). Turnovers: 8 (Durant 3, Fisher 2, Jackson 2, Martin). Steals: 5 (Sefolosha 2, Durant, Fisher, Perkins). Technical Fouls: Durant, 0:22.5 fourth.

Houston 30 20 37 20 — 107

Oklahoma City 26 17 32 25 — 100

Attendance • 18,203

Time • 2:36.

Officials • Ken Mauer, Ed Malloy, Bill Spooner.