May 1, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) handles the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson (15) and Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha (2) during the first half in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs: Houston Rockets Stay Alive, Force Game 6


Coming off one of his worst games of the season, James Harden wasn’t feeling well in the morning shootaround due to flu-like symptoms.  But he somehow found the strength to guide the Houston Rockets to a 107-100 win, extending the series back to Houston.

Harden scored 31 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, including making his first seven three point attempts.  Houston led by as many as 16, and have now cut the Oklahoma City Thunder series lead to 3-2 after trailing 3-0.

“I just tried to go out there and give it all I had,” Harden said, adding that he had slept all day. “It was a win or go home, so I got some shots to fall and I just tried to not think about it.”

The Rockets played again without Jeremy Lin, and Carlos Delfino had the leave the game in the second quarter because of a sore left foot.  But the Rockets supporting cast continued to step up.

 Omer Asik added 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Francisco Garcia scored 21 points.  Patrick Beverley scored 14 points, and Aaron Brooks and Chandler Parsons chipped in with 10 points each.

With the Rockets leading by eight with over five minutes to play, the Thunder surprisingly began to intentionally foul Asik (54 percent career free throw shooter).  But Asik came up clutch, making 8 of 12 free throws to help extend the Rockets lead to 101-92 with 3 minutes left.

 Kevin Durant scored 36 points for the Thunder, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, missing all five of his shots.  He also picked up a technical foul with 20 seconds left in the game after complaining with referee Bill Spooner.  Durant also apparently doesn’t know all the names of the Rockets players.

“We was on our way back, and then also the hack-a-whatever-his-name-is,” Durant said after the game. “It kind of slowed the rhythm down a little bit.”

Reggie Jackson added 20 points for the Thunder, while Kevin Martin scored just 3 points.  Martin missed his first 9 shots, with Russell Westbrook watching from the press boxes.  It was Westbrook’s first public appearance since the team announced that he would be done for the season.

“They miss him (Westbrook) everywhere. How would you not? He’s one of the top players in the league,” Kevin McHale said. “They probably miss him in the locker room, miss him in shootaround, miss him on the bus, miss him on the plane, miss him on offense, miss him on defense. Did I miss anything?”

The Rockets connected on 14 three pointers, the most they’ve made all series, but were outscored in the paint, in second-chance points, and on fast-break points.

Beverley also received many boos in the pregame player introductions in his first return to OKC since being involved in the play that injured Westbrook.  Beverley was also booed every time he touched the ball.

“My teammates told me to come out here and stay aggressive. This is a family unit with this team,” Beverley said. “I tried to not hear the boos and tried to go out and stay focused on the game plan today.”

Game 6 will be Friday night in Houston.

Box Score:

Houston Rockets
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Chandler Parsons, SF 42 4-12 0-5 2-4 0 5 5 4 0 0 3 4 +2 10
Omer Asik, C 38 4-6 0-0 13-18 1 10 11 0 0 2 2 4 +12 21
Patrick Beverley, PG 39 5-11 2-5 2-2 3 5 8 1 1 1 1 4 +3 14
James Harden, SG 42 10-16 7-9 4-5 0 8 8 3 1 0 3 2 +16 31
Francisco Garcia, SG 40 6-14 5-12 1-2 1 4 5 3 1 2 2 4 0 18
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Greg Smith, PF 10 1-1 0-0 1-2 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 2 -5 3
Royce White, PF 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
Tim Ohlbrecht, C 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -13 0
Aaron Brooks, PG 19 4-11 0-3 2-4 1 2 3 3 0 0 1 1 +8 10
Carlos Delfino, SG 10 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 -1 0
Terrence Jones, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION
Thomas Robinson, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION
Donatas Motiejunas, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION
Jeremy Lin, PG DNP BRUISED RIGHT CHEST MUSCLE
James Anderson, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
34-72 14-35 25-37 6 36 42 15 4 5 12 22 107
47.2% 40.0% 67.6%
Fast break points:   8
Points in the paint:   34
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers):   15 (21)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.

Oklahoma City Thunder

STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Serge Ibaka, PF 35 7-14 0-1 0-0 5 4 9 1 0 2 0 4 -3 14
Kevin Durant, SF 45 11-23 1-8 13-16 1 6 7 7 1 1 3 3 -8 36
Kendrick Perkins, C 16 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 4 5 1 1 0 0 3 -13 2
Reggie Jackson, PG 32 7-15 2-6 4-6 0 4 4 3 0 2 2 4 -13 20
Thabo Sefolosha, SG 36 3-8 3-6 0-0 3 5 8 6 2 2 0 2 +1 9
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Nick Collison, PF 7 3-3 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 0 0 2 0 1 0 6
Perry Jones, SF 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -4 0
Russell Westbrook, PG 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +1 0
Derek Fisher, PG 29 2-6 2-5 2-4 0 2 2 0 1 0 2 5 +7 8
DeAndre Liggins, SG 18 1-4 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 1 0 4 -8 2
Kevin Martin, SG 23 1-10 0-5 1-2 0 4 4 1 0 0 1 2 +2 3
Ronnie Brewer, SF DNP COACH’S DECISION
Hasheem Thabeet, C DNP COACH’S DECISION
Daniel Orton, C DNP COACH’S DECISION
Jeremy Lamb, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
36-86 8-33 20-28 12 31 43 20 5 10 8 28 100
41.9% 24.2% 71.4%

Tags: Houston Rockets James Harden Kevin Durant NBA Playoffs Oklahoma City Thunder