Claremore Daily Progress

Breaking News

Sports

April 25, 2013

NBA PLAYOFFS: Rockets up intensity, fall to Thunder 105-102

OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook slammed his hand on the scorer's table in anger. He had been slowing down to call a timeout when rookie Patrick Beverley came careening in to try for a steal and crashed into Westbrook's knee.

Oklahoma City's guard shook off the pain and the Thunder withstood a challenge from an energized Houston Rockets team looking to bounce back from a Game 1 blowout.

Westbrook and Kevin Durant scored 29 points apiece, and Oklahoma City recovered after squandering a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead to beat Houston 105-102 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference first-round series.

"It's the playoffs,'' Westbrook said. "You can't help it. You can't help but get excited.''

Oklahoma City's big lead melted away with nine straight scoreless possessions as the Rockets mixed in a zone defense. James Harden spearheaded a 21-2 Houston comeback by getting into the lane to create his own opportunities, and he also kicked the ball out to set up two 3-pointers by Carlos Delfino. His second 3, from the right wing, provided a 95-91 lead with 3:27 to go.

But the Rockets couldn't keep it up.

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 14 seconds later with a deep 3 from the left wing, and the Thunder wouldn't give up the lead again. Oklahoma City came up with back-to-back stops before Thabo Sefolosha's 3 provided a little breathing room at 101-97.

Chandler Parsons, who went tumbling to the court as Sefolosha shot, said Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins prevented him from closing out on the shooter.

"It was obvious what Perkins did to me. He grabbed me with two hands and I couldn't go out there and contest Sefolosha,'' Parsons said. "It's part of the game.''

Serge Ibaka added a long jumper to make it 103-98 after the Rockets forced Durant to give up the ball. Durant and Kevin Martin, both in the top five in the league in free-throw percentage, both went 1 for 2 at the foul line in the final 12 seconds to give the Rockets one last chance.

Houston didn't have any timeouts left after Durant's miss with 1 second left, and Delfino couldn't connect on a desperation shot at the buzzer.

"It's frustrating and it hurts really bad right now,'' said Parsons, who scored 17. "But you've got to take some positives out of it. It's a long series.''

Game 3 is Saturday night in Houston.

Harden finished with 36 points and 11 rebounds, and Beverley had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Houston. The Rockets made up for a 40 percent shooting mark with a 57-40 advantage on the boards and a 50-30 scoring edge in the paint, engineering a massive turnaround after getting blown out 120-91 in Game 1.

And they did it without starting point guard Jeremy Lin, who didn't play in the second half because of a muscle contusion in his chest. Lin said X-rays were negative and he could play in Game 3 if spasms stop.

"Our team is a young team and we're not a perfect team by any stretch of the imagination, but they'll fight,'' coach Kevin McHale said. "They're a bunch of scrappers. They'll go out and fight you for it. So, I knew our team would play well today. That's who they are.''

Beverley moved into the starting lineup as Houston went with a three-guard unit, and it didn't take long for the rookie to get under Westbrook's skin with his lunge for the steal.

Later in the half, Beverley knocked Westbrook down on a foul and then reached out to help him up. Westbrook slapped his hand away.

"It's part of basketball, playoff basketball. Everyone wants to go out there and win,'' Beverley said. "Anyone who knows me, knows my character, that I'm not going to back down from anyone, Russell Westbrook or anybody else.''

Westbrook said he relishes those moments when he gets challenged by an opponent.

"It's fun. During this time of the year, as a team we've got one goal and we can't let nobody get in the way,'' Westbrook said. "That's how I feel and that's how I want my team to respond as well.''

Another rookie, Greg Smith, drew a technical foul when he jawed at Ibaka after dunking on the NBA's top shot-blocker and Houston was within 57-55 at halftime.

Just after Harden's driving throwdown put Houston ahead 63-61, Oklahoma City roared back with Ibaka keying a 13-0 run. He swatted Omer Asik's dunk attempt, hit two free throws and grabbed an offensive rebound that set up Westbrook's three-point play. The Thunder started the fourth quarter with an 11-2 to run to push their lead to 89-74 after Martin's 3-pointer with 9:22 to go.

McHale called time out, and the Rockets immediately responded with Beverley's 3-pointer off a set play beginning the comeback.

"We were down 15, we could have just given up the game and said, `Let's go to Game 3,' but we fought back and took the lead,'' Harden said. "So, we definitely have some confidence going into Game 3 and going back home.''



 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Southwest Baptist slips past NSU, 5-3

     The Northeastern State baseball team lost 5-3 to Southwest Baptist Thursday afternoon at Dobson Field.
     
    The RiverHawks (19-22, 15-18 MIAA) held a 3-0 lead early in the contest, but a late rally from the Bearcats (23-18, 19-13 MIAA) and costly errors from the visitors allowed the home team to secure the series-opening triumph.

    April 18, 2014

  • WOMEN'S TENNIS: Conference champion NSU lands top seed in MIAA tourney

    The No. 31-ranked Northeastern State women's tennis team has drawn the top seed in the 2014 MIAA Women's Tennis Championship, the league announced Thursday morning.

    April 18, 2014

AP Video