Rockets Avoid NBA Sweep; Brooklyn Nets’ Win Extends Playoff RunErik Matuszewski
The Houston Rockets avoided being swept out of the National Basketball Association playoffs with a 105-103 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks also had postseason wins.
Chandler Parsons had 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Rockets, who trail three games to one in their best-of-seven Western Conference series. Houston, after back-to-back three-point losses, held on for the victory last night as Serge Ibaka missed a potential game-tying layup for the top-seeded Thunder as time expired.
“We were never going to give up no matter how much we were down,” Parsons said in a televised interview. “There was no chance we were going to let another one slip away.”
The Nets also avoided postseason elimination by pulling away for a 110-91 win against the Chicago Bulls behind a 28-point, 10-rebound effort from Brook Lopez.
The Bulls have a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference series and can advance to the second round with a win May 2 in Chicago.
The Hawks evened their first-round series against Indiana with a 102-91 win against the Pacers. Josh Smith had a career playoff-high 29 points to lead the Hawks, who sent Indiana to its 13th straight loss at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
The Golden State Warriors will seek to advance to a second-round matchup against the San Antonio Spurs when they visit the Denver Nuggets tonight with a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference series. The Warriors have won three straight games since losing the opener.
Today’s second playoff game is also in the West, where the Los Angeles Clippers host the Memphis Grizzlies with the teams tied at two games apiece. The home team has won each of the first four games.
The Rockets withstood a 38-point performance by Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and the absence of injured point guard Jeremy Lin in recording their first win of the postseason.
Houston erased a seven-point deficit by outscoring the Thunder 38-24 during the third quarter and then held on for the win. Oklahoma City’s last chance to send the game to overtime ended when Reggie Jackson’s running shot in the lane came up short in the closing seconds and Ibaka missed an uncontested layup after grabbing the rebound of Jackson’s shot.
Ibaka fell to the court on his back and covered his face with his hands after failing to convert the tying basket.
Omer Asik had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who visit Oklahoma City for Game 5 tomorrow.
The Nets kept their season alive by outscoring the Bulls 25-7 over the final eight minutes to break open a one-point game. Andray Blatche came off the bench to score 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Nets, while Deron Williams took advantage of the absence of Bulls starting point guard Kirk Hinrich by scoring 23 points and handing out 10 assists.
Lopez is the first Nets player to score 20 or more points in five straight postseason games since Vince Carter in 2007.
“‘I would have been surprised if our guys didn’t respond the way they did,” Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo told reporters. “It just would have been out of character for the way they’ve played all year.”
The Nets, who are 6-0 in Game 5s played at home, are seeking to become the ninth team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series. The last was the 2006 Phoenix Suns against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Hawks evened their series by outscoring the visiting Pacers by 16 points during the second quarter and then holding on for the victory. Kyle Korver added 19 points off the bench for Atlanta, while Al Horford had 18.
“You’re not going to win on another team’s floor when you have a 35-19 quarter,” said Paul George, who led the Pacers with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The series heads back to Indianapolis for Game 5 tomorrow.