The Houston Rockets did everything right on Wednesday right, playing cohesively and intensely to force Game 6 back in Houston with the Oklahoma City Thunder after beating them 107-100 on the road. The Rockets dominated from wire to wire, leading 30-26 at the end of the first quarter and rarely relinquishing the lead throughout the rest of the game. With their win, they pull the series 3-2.
For the Rockets, James Harden–who was battling flu-like symptoms but showed nothing of it–led with 31 points and made seven straight shots from deep.
Kevin Durant had 36 points in the losing effort, and the significance of Russell Westbrook to this team was really felt when no one else really stepped up to aid Durant in this contest.
Houston led by as many as 16 before staving off a rally that Oklahoma City scrounged up with an interesting ploy: the Hack-Asik.
The Thunder played sloppily for four straight quarter, and even when they could muster together a string of made shots, Houston had an answer at every turn.
With five and a half minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Thunder began relentlessly fouling Omer Asik, a 54-percent career foul shooter. He made 8-of-12 attempts, and put Houston up 101-92 with nearly four minutes left before OKC dropped the tactic.
With the loss, OKC now must travel back to Houston for Game 6, a critical match-up now, as the Thunder could very easily let this series slip away from them now that they are playing without Westbrook.
These two teams will square off again on Fri., May 3 at the Toyota Center at 9:30 p.m. EST.