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Rockets overcome Westbrook's 51, take 2-0 lead over Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives past Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon during the first half in Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 35 points and the Houston Rockets overcame 51 points from Russell Westbrook in the highest-scoring triple-double in playoff history, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-111 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Westbrook set a franchise playoff scoring record and added 13 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the sixth career playoff triple-double for Westbrook, who had an NBA-record 42 in the regular season.

But he shot just 4 for 18 in the fourth quarter as the Rockets clawed back from a double-digit deficit to surge ahead before holding on.

Game 3 is Friday night in Oklahoma City.

The game was tied before Houston scored 10 straight points with 3-pointers from Harden, Patrick Beverley and Eric Gordon to make it 114-104 with 1:22 remaining. Westbrook had four straight points to start a 7-1 run after that, but the Thunder wouldn't get any closer.

This was a much different game than the series opener, when Houston routed the Thunder 118-87. On Wednesday night, Houston trailed by as many as 15 and didn't take a lead until the fourth quarter.

The Rockets benefited from a balanced scoring attack, with Lou Williams adding 21, Gordon scoring 22 off the bench and Game 1 star Beverley chipping in 15.

The Rockets used a big run early in the fourth quarter to go on top for the first time in the game with about eight minutes remaining. Harden's 3 about three minutes later made it 104-100.

Andre Roberson added a tip-in layup for the Thunder before two free throws by Westbrook tied it at 104-all with about 3 minutes left.

The Thunder led by three entering the fourth quarter and scored the first five points of the period, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Doug McDermott, to make it 94-86.

Oklahoma City went more than three minutes without scoring to allow Houston to take the lead. The Thunder had missed seven straight shots when Westbrook got them back on track with a layup with about eight minutes left.

The Thunder led by seven with about nine minutes left in the third quarter before Westbrook made four quick points to extend the lead to 79-68. Houston scored the next six points, but Oklahoma City answered with seven points in a row after that, with five from Westbrook, to extend the lead to 86-74 with about 3 minutes left in the quarter.

The Thunder led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but Houston had cut the lead to 68-62 at halftime.

TIP-INS

  • Thunder: Westbrook was just two rebounds shy of a triple-double by halftime with 22 points and 10 assists. ... Roberson was Oklahoma City's second-leading scorer with 12 points. ... Oklahoma City made just 7 of 30 3-pointers.
  • Rockets: Houston has won five in a row over Oklahoma City including regular-season games. ... Capela had 10 rebounds. .. Harden made 18 of 20 free throws.


WILLIAMS OFF THE BENCH

  • Wednesday was the 31st time this season that Williams has scored 20 or more points off the bench this season. He is one of just four players since 1993-94 to score at least 20 points off the bench at least 30 times in a season.
  • "We looked like we needed some energy, looked like we needed a spark and I think in the first and second half (the second unit) was able to do it," he said.


THEY SAID IT

  • Thunder center Steve Adams on what went wrong late: "We just weren't taking the greatest of shots, and they really capitalized on that. It was a combination of things and our mental stamina needs to be a little better."


UP NEXT

  • The series moves to Oklahoma City for Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday.

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