In a game of surges, the Oklahoma City Thunder blew past the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter to advance to the NBA Western Conference semifinals with a 103-94 win at the Toyota Center Friday night.
Oklahoma City broke open a close game with a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter and never looked back to take the best-of-seven series, 4-2. The Thunder, who outscored the Rockets 25-17 in the final quarter, will face off against the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday in the Western Conference second round.
The game see-sawed back and forth, with each team surging ahead at various times in the first three quarters. Outscored by the Rockets 18-4 to start the second half, the Thunder stormed back.
Thunder star Kevin Durant caught fire in the second half and ended the evening with 27 points to lead his team in scoring. Former Rocket Kevin Martin singed his old team with 25 points, most coming in the first half.
James Harden led the Rockets with 26 points, although he turned the ball over several times at crucial times in the game. Chandler Parsons scored 25 points, many from three-point range, and Omer Asik scored 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Jeremy Lin, who missed the last two playoff games due to a chest injury, came off the bench but scored only 3 points.
The Rockets were seeking to become the third team to force a game 7 after trailing 0-3 in an NBA playoff series. The last time that happened was in 2003 when the Portland Trail Blazers forced a game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks.
Even so, with a young team and a strong showing as the No. 8 seed, the Rockets left fans with a lot to be excited about.