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Durant, Thunder struggling to close out Rockets
NBA » Oklahoma City finds life difficult without Westbrook at the point.


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"It was a win or go home, so I got some shots to fall and I just tried to not think about it."

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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, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds from Omer Asik and 18 points and five 3-pointers from Francisco Garcia as six players scored in double figures.

Oklahoma City eliminated half of Houston’s big lead before managing to stymie its own comeback.

Apparently doubting they could overcome an eight-point lead on their home court without Westbrook, the Thunder resorted to intentionally fouling Asik — a 54 percent free throw 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.


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"It kind of slowed the rhythm down a little bit," Durant said.

Durant was scoreless in the fourth quarter, missing all five of his shots, and picked up a technical foul with 22.5 seconds left for complaining to referee Bill Spooner.

"They do a great job taking it out of his hands in that fourth quarter. They were sending guys, face-guarding him throughout the quarter," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We have to figure out ways to get him moving and open."

Reggie Jackson contributed 20 points for the Thunder. Kevin Martin, who was acquired in a preseason trade for Harden, missed his first nine shots before making a jumper in the fourth quarter.

What was missing most, though, was Westbrook.

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