James Harden had 34 points and his supporting cast helped Houston overcome a 47-point game by Russell Westbrook to get a 105-99 victory over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
The Thunder head home a year after advancing to the Western Conference finals after Houston took this series 4-1.
The Rockets used a 5-1 run, with all their points coming on free throws, to pull away from the Thunder and make it 98-91. Victor Oladipo threw a pass about 5 feet above Westbrook’s head and out of bounds on the next possession and Harden made a layup on the other end with about 3 minutes left.
The Rockets began eating up the clock after that and Oklahoma City missed shot after shot that could have closed the gap.
Houston couldn’t add to its lead though and the Thunder cut it to 4 points twice in the final seconds, with the second one coming on a basket by Alex Abrines. But Harden made two free throws both times they got close to secure the win.
at San Antonio 116, Memphis 103: Kawhi Leonard had 28 points and San Antonio rebounded from two discouraging road losses to beat Memphis and take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.
San Antonio shot 14 for 28 on 3-point attempts, two off its postseason record, including 5-for-7 shooting by Patty Mills.
Mills finished with 20 points and Tony Parker added 16.
Mike Conley had 26 points and Marc Gasol added 17 for the Grizzlies, who have lost nine straight postseason games in San Antonio.
With each team winning on its homecourt, Game 6 is Thursday night in Memphis.