HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 34 points and his supporting cast helped Houston overcome a 47-point game by Russell Westbrook to get a 105-99 victory over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
The Thunder head home a year after advancing to the Western Conference finals after Houston took this series 4-1.
The Rockets used a 5-1 run, with all their points coming on free throws, to pull away from the Thunder and make it 98-91. Victor Oladipo threw a pass about 5 feet above Westbrook’s head and out of bounds on the next possession and Harden made a layup on the other end with about 3 minutes left.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 28 points and San Antonio rebounded from two discouraging road losses to beat Memphis and take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.
San Antonio shot 14 for 28 on 3-point attempts, two off its postseason record, including 5-for-7 shooting by Patty Mills.
Mills finished with 20 points and Tony Parker added 16.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Joe Johnson saved the Utah Jazz — again.
“Iso Joe” has become a major problem for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Johnson scored 28 points, and the Jazz beat the Clippers 105-98 on Sunday night to tie their first-round playoff series at 2-all. It was Utah’s first home playoff win since 2010.
“He’s so sure with the ball,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “It’s not often you find a guy that has that combination of skill, as far as his ability to handle the ball and make plays.
And the strength to get to spots on the floor.
“The thing that really takes us to a unique place is he’s such a willing passer. He basically either scored or assisted on every basket (down the stretch). ... We knew this is who he is and he knows it’s playoff time.”
Johnson, who hit the winning shot in Game 1, scored 11 straight Jazz points during a crucial stretch in the fourth quarter, including a pull-up jumper for a 91-90 lead with 3:55 remaining after Utah trailed by seven with 7:37 left. The Clippers never led again after controlling the game for most of the night.
“Just trying to be aggressive and make plays,” Johnson said. “We had to get stops, which kind of fueled our offense. ... We were getting into the teeth of the defense, whether we had layups, dunks or kick-outs for 3s, thought we did a good job of making the right decision.”