Rockets roar back to beat Thunder and take 2-0 series lead

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook walks down the court in the final seconds of Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Houston. Houston won 115-111. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

The Houston Rockets trailed 86-74 in the third quarter of Game 2 when Russell Westbrook went to the bench. The Rockets promptly went on a 12-3 run to close the quarter, and then they dominated the fourth quarter to get a 115-111 victory and a 2-0 series lead.

Houston “only” won the fourth quarter 29-22, but the advantage was 28-15 before the Oklahoma City Thunder made one last surge only to fall short. James Harden, Patrick Beverley and Eric Gordon all hit critical 3s in the latter half of the fourth quarter, all while Russell Westbrook helped shoot his Thunder out of the game.

Westbrook put up a historic stat line of 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the first 50-point triple-double in playoff history. But he also went 4-of-18 in the fourth quarter as part of a 17-of-43 shooting night. He went 1-of-7 from 3 in the final frame and 2-of-11 for the game:

Westbrook started out the game in brilliant fashion after his awful Game 1. He was aggressive but still under control, and he nearly had a triple-double in the first half with 22 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Unfortunately, it all went out the window in that dreadful fourth quarter.

Of course, the minutes Westbrook didn’t play were extremely problematic. He still finished a +11, meaning the Thunder were a -15 in the seven minutes he was on the bench.

Harden led the Rockets with 35 points and eight assists. He struggled with his shot early, but he finished a respectable 7-of-17 and used 18-of-20 shooting from the charity stripe to mitigate his just okay shooting night.

Gordon and Lou Williams were enormous off the bench. Gordon had 22 points and Williams had 21, with both players going 8-of-14 from the field. Patrick Beverley added 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting as the Rockets shot just under 49 percent from the field.

Game 3 is on Friday on OKC.

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