Thunder beat Rockets 103-94 to advance

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 4, 2013 at 2:43 am •  Published: May 4, 2013
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HOUSTON (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder were unhappy about coming back to Houston for Game 6. They left town in a much better mood.

Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Kevin Martin added 25 to lead the Thunder to a 103-94 victory over the Rockets on Friday night, sending Oklahoma City to the second round of the playoffs for the third straight season.

The Rockets were looking to become just the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0.

But the Thunder opened the fourth quarter with a big run to take the lead and cruised to the victory. The Thunder will host Memphis on Sunday.

"We're just happy to finally pick up a win and finally get this series over with," Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson said. "They stretched this thing out, and you've got to give credit to them for the way they battled."

Martin finally gave the Thunder someone to take scoring pressure off Durant for the first time since All-Star Russell Westbrook had season-ending knee surgery. Martin had 21 points by halftime and Westbrook's replacement, Jackson helped out by scoring 17.

"Everybody chipped in," Durant said. "Reggie was phenomenal tonight and that's what we're going to need down the line from everybody; just to chip in."

Jackson also had seven rebounds, eight assists and just two turnovers.

"That was one of our best Thunder team wins that we've had all season," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "The guys really laid everything on the line, and that's what playoff basketball is all about. That's what team basketball is all about, and I liked the guys' commitment to helping each other out."

Durant, who also had eight rebounds and six assists, likes the way the team has grown in the four games since Westbrook was injured.

"It's making us stronger," he said. "We definitely had to come together. We struggled at times, but that's all part of the journey."

James Harden, who the Rockets said had strep throat on Thursday, led Houston with 26 points.

Oklahoma City used a 14-4 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to take a 92-81 lead. 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 took it down and finished with an emphatic dunk, and Houston didn't threaten from there on.

"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.

Brooks said the importance of Fisher to his team couldn't be overstated.

"He has made our team better," Brooks said. "His spirit of doing it every day is something all teams should strive for. What I saw tonight was some of the most inspired play I've ever seen as a player and as a coach."

Fisher finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two steals.



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