NBA Playoffs: Houston's Harden hits for 36, but OKC prevails

2013-04-25T00:00:00Z NBA Playoffs: Houston's Harden hits for 36, but OKC prevailsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

OKLAHOMA CITY - Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 29 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder recovered after squandering a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter Wed-nesday to beat the Houston Rockets 105-102 and take a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Western Conference playoffs.

Durant hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:28 to play, and the Thunder didn't relinquish the lead after that.

James Harden scored 36 points and spearheaded a 21-2 comeback that wiped out the big deficit and put the Rockets up 95-91. But the top-seeded Thunder were able to protect the home-court advantage they'd spent all season earning.

Oklahoma City came back to tie it before Harden knifed to the basket for a layup to give Houston its last lead at 97-95 with 2:42 to play. Durant answered right away with a deep 3 from the left wing, and the Thunder came up with back-to-back stops before Thabo Sefolosha's 3 provided a little breathing room at 101-97. Game 3 is Saturday night in Houston.

• Pacers 113, Hawks 98: In Indianapolis, Paul George followed his triple-double by scoring a playoff career-high 27 points to lead Indiana. The Pacers lead the best-of-seven first-round series 2-0 and have won four straight home games over the Hawks. It's the first time Indiana has held a 2-0 series lead since the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals.

George, playing in his first game since being named the league's Most Improved Player, was 11 of 21 from the field, had eight rebounds, three assists and four steals and again played well defensively. George Hill had 22 points.

Atlanta was led by Devin Harris with 17 points. Jeff Teague and Josh Smith both had 16. The Hawks head home for Game 3 on Saturday.

Rim shots

• Conceding publicly for the first time that he should have never fired Mike Brown as Cleveland's coach during the turbulent summer of 2010, owner Dan Gilbert said Wednesday he's thrilled to be able to rehire the most successful coach in franchise history. Brown led the Cavs to the NBA playoffs in each of his five seasons with the club.

• Grizzlies center Marc Gasol has won his first NBA Defensive Player of the Year award after anchoring the league's stingiest defense. The 7-foot-1 Spaniard averaged 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals for a Memphis defense that allowed a league-best 88.7 points per game.

• Southern California junior center Dewayne Dedmon says he'll enter the NBA draft. He led the Trojans in rebounding (7.0 per game), blocks (66) and steals (34) this season.

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