Harden powers past illness, lifts Rockets 107-100

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 2, 2013 at 12:37 am •  Published: May 2, 2013
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Asik missed three of his first six free throws, and the Thunder continued fouling him intentionally even after getting within 98-92 with 4:12 remaining. Asik hit three of his next four and then blocked a shot by Thabo Sefolosha as Houston started extending its lead again.

Reggie Jackson contributed 20 points for the Thunder, who leaned heavily on Durant for a third straight game with Westbrook out for the playoffs with a right knee injury. Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City's sixth man who was acquired in a preseason trade for Harden, missed his first nine shots before making a jumper in the fourth quarter to finish with three points.

"They miss him everywhere. How would you not? He's one of the top players in the league," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "They probably miss him in the locker room, miss him in shoot-around, miss him on the bus, miss him on the plane, miss him on offense, miss him on defense. Did I miss anything?"

The Rockets made a series-high 14 3-pointers on 35 attempts, making up for getting outscored in the paint, in second-chance points and on the fast break. Oklahoma City made just 8 of 33 from 3-point range, missing 14 of its first 15 attempts.

Beverley, who made a lunging attempt at a steal in Game 2 that resulted in the knee injury that knocked out Westbrook, received a hearty boo during pregame introductions, then got booed again each time he touched the ball.

Undeterred, he drove against Jackson for the first basket of the game and the Rockets got out to a strong start. Beverley was called for a technical foul for thrusting his left forearm into Jackson after the Thunder guard made a steal attempt similar to the one that ended up with Westbrook getting hurt.

"My teammates told me to come out here and stay aggressive. This is a family unit with this team," Beverley said. "I tried to not hear the boos and tried to go out and stay focused on the game plan today."

Durant hit the free throw after Beverley's technical to complete a string of eight straight Oklahoma City points and put the Thunder up 17-16 but Houston responded with its own 8-0 run and wouldn't trail again.

NOTES: Westbrook watched the game from a suite. He was unable to be on the bench because his leg needed to be extended. ... With the clock running down at the end of the game, McHale told Harden to "go ahead and shoot it if you like," but Harden opted to take the shot-clock violation. Derek Fisher popped in a 3-pointer for Oklahoma City at the final buzzer.


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