Game 4 is Monday night in the Rockets' Toyota Center.
Durant had 17 points in the first quarter alone and finished with 41. But he and the Thunder cooled in the second half, and Houston climbed all the way back to take two momentary leads.
But the Thunder responded each time. Serge Ibaka hit a fallaway jumper to restore the lead to the Thunder, 95-94 with 3:13 left, then Durant nailed the 3-pointer.
Playing with amazing energy in Westbrook's absence, the Thunder zoomed to a 39-19 first-quarter lead and a 48-22 lead 2½ minutes into the second quarter.
But the Rockets slowly climbed back into the game.