NBA: Thunder blows 26-point lead but rallies for victory

2013-04-28T00:00:00Z NBA: Thunder blows 26-point lead but rallies for victoryThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

HOUSTON - Kevin Durant scored 41 points in his first game without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder fought off Houston's late rally to beat the Rockets 104-101 on Saturday night for a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.

Durant scored 27 points in the first half, and the Thunder led by 26 points before a big third-quarter rally by the Rockets put them within striking distance.

Houston regained the lead with about four minutes left and was up with less than a minute remaining. But Durant hit a three-pointer seconds later to put Oklahoma City on top 100-99.

A turnover by James Harden gave the Thunder the ball back, and Derek Fisher made two free throws to push the lead to 3. Harden made a layup, but Reggie Jackson hit two more free throws after that.

Houston had a last chance, but Carlos Delfino's three-point shot fell short.

Westbrook was injured in Game 2 and had season-ending knee surgery Saturday. After the surgery, the Thunder announced Westbrook would miss the remainder of the playoffs.

It was the first time Durant had ever played without Westbrook, who hadn't missed a game in his career before Saturday.

Harden scored 30 points to lead the Rockets in the first playoff game in Houston since 2009.

Durant tied a career high for the playoffs, and he added 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Jackson started in place of Westbrook and had 14 points, and Ibaka added 17 points and 11 rebounds.

• Grizzlies 104, Clippers 83: In Memphis,Tenn., Marc Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Memphis tied the first-round playoff series at two games apiece.

Zach Randolph finished with 24 points and nine rebounds as the Grizzlies won their second straight to ensure another stop in Memphis for Game 6. Mike Conley had 15 points and 13 assists, and Tayshaun Prince scored 15 in his best game of the series.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had 19 points apiece for the Clippers, and Griffin also grabbed 10 rebounds. The L.A. reserves outscored their counterparts 43-16.

• Hawks 90, Pacers 69: In Atlanta, Al Horford had 26 points and 16 rebounds as Atlanta won Game 3 to cut the Pacers' series lead to 2-1.

Playing with much more urgency than they did in two double-digit losses at Indianapolis, the Hawks raced to a 54-30 halftime lead. Game 4 is Monday night in Atlanta, where the Hawks have won 12 straight against the Pacers dating to 2006.

Indiana, which looked so dominant on its home court, was a totally different team after heading south. David West led the Pacers with 18 points. Paul George, who averaged 25 points in the first two games, was held to 16.

Rim shots

• The NBA suspended Knicks guard J.R. Smith for Game 4 of New York's playoff series against Boston for elbowing the Celtics' Jason Terry in the chin.

Smith will sit out when the Knicks try to complete a four-game sweep today.

• Miami's Dwyane Wade is receiving treatment "around the clock" for his aching right knee, and coach Erik Spoelstra said the team was undecided Saturday whether he'll play today against Milwaukee.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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