Russell Westbrook had 51 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists in Game 2 but the Oklahoma City still can’t get over the hump, losing 115-111 to the Houston Rockets.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Harden said. “We didn’t make a lot of shots. We gave them the early lead and we had to fight our way back and we did. We didn’t give up. We continued to fight and grind and figure out a way to win.”
Harden scored 35 points and the Rockets had to overcome a Westbrook’s franchise-setting 51 in the playoffs. It was the sixth career playoff triple-double for Westbrook, who had an NBA-record 42 in the regular season.
But he shot just 4 for 18 in the fourth quarter and the Rockets clawed back from a double-digit deficit.
He was not in the mood to talk about his statistics after the game.
“I don’t give a [expletive] about the line,” he said before glaring at reporters. “We lost.”
Thunder coach Billy Donovan thought Westbrook might have gotten tired late after playing the entire fourth quarter, but Westbrook brushed off that notion.
This was a much different game than the series opener, when Houston routed the Thunder 118-87. On Wednesday night, Houston trailed by as many as 15 and didn’t take a lead until the fourth quarter.
The Rockets benefited from a balanced scoring attack, with Lou Williams adding 21, Gordon scoring 22 off the bench and Game 1 star Beverley chipping in 15.
Houston used a big run early in the fourth quarter to go on top for the first time in the game with about eight minutes remaining. Harden’s 3 about three minutes later made it 104-100.
Andre Roberson added a tip-in layup for the Thunder before two free throws by Westbrook tied it at 104-all with about 3 minutes left.
The Thunder led by seven with about nine minutes left in the third quarter before Westbrook had four quick points to extend the lead to 79-68. Houston scored the next six points, but Oklahoma City answered with seven points in a row after that, with five from Westbrook, to extend the lead to 86-74 with about 3 minutes left in the quarter.
The Thunder led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but Houston had cut the lead to 68-62 at halftime.