NBA Playoffs: Rockets Fall Short In Game 6, Thunder advance

By Michael Ma

May 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) loses control of the ball during the fourth quarter as Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher (6) defends in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets lacked execution in the fourth quarter, and the Oklahoma City Thunder took advantage of that.  The Thunder outscored the Rockets 25-17 in the fourth quarter en route to a 104-93 win, ending the Rockets season.

 Kevin Durant scored 27 points, but he got help from his supporting cast.  Kevin Martin, after a 1 for 10 performance in game 5, stepped up to score 25 points with 21 of those points coming in the first half.  Reggie Jackson, who has stepped in nicely for Russell Westbrook, chipped in with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Derek Fisher came up big again in a playoff game.  The 17-year veteran finished with 11 points and knocked down two huge threes in the fourth quarter.

James Harden scored 26 points for the Rockets, while Chandler Parsons scored 25.  Omer Asik added 13 points and 13 rebounds.  Jeremy Lin played for the first time since game 3, but didn’t start.  He scored just 3 points in 13 minutes, while Carlos Delfino sat out due to a bone fracture in his right foot.

With the Rockets trailing 78-77 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Thunder went on a 14-4 spurt to begin the period.  Derek Fisher and Durant both hit 3-pointers in that stretch. Houston missed six shots, including two layups, and had two turnovers as the Thunder built the lead.

Harden made a 3-pointer after that, but Fisher stole the ball from him on the next possession and Durant finished with an exclamation-point dunk, and Houston didn’t threaten after that.

“We were just stagnant and from there on out we couldn’t get any movement and really couldn’t get any shots off,” Harden said.

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Houston’s Patrick Beverley said. “My mind is set to play Game 7. It’s frustrating right now.”

Things got testy early in the first quarter when Francisco Garcia was called for a foul on Durant.  Kendrick Perkins and Garcia got into it and both were called for technical fouls.  Perkins then inexplicably dropped down to the floor and began doing pushups.

Asik and Durant were also hit with double technical fouls just before the first half ended.

The Thunder will now advance and play the Memphis Grizzlies.  Game 1 is scheduled for Sunday.

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