NBA: Thunder win again, lead series 2-0

AFP and AP, OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma and SAN ANTONIO, Texas

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - Page 20

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 29 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder over Houston 105-102 on Wednesday for a 2-0 lead in their first-round NBA playoff series.

The Thunder squandered a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter as Houston, playing without Jeremy Lin because of a third-quarter muscle bruise, rallied with a 21-2 run for a four-point lead in the late going.

Oklahoma City answered with a 10-2 run to win the game, topped by a go-ahead three-pointer from Durant, who scored 21 points in the first half, and the playmaker’s key pass to set up a Thabo Sefolosha jumper.

“I saw the opening for the three and made that and that gave me some confidence,” Durant said. “I have confidence in Thabo and everybody else. If they are open I will give them the shot. If they miss we will live with it.”

“We stayed aggressive. That’s why we were able to make some in that fourth,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to trust the pass and trust each other that we are going to make those shots when it counts.”

The best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series continues with Game 3 and Game 4 tomorrow and on Monday in Houston, where the Rockets went 29-12 in the regular season and split two games against Oklahoma City.

“We were 15 down — we could have given up and thought about the next game, but we didn’t,” Rockets guard James Harden said. “We have a lot of confidence going back home.”

Harden scored a game-high 36 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who also had 16 points and 12 rebounds from rookie Patrick Beverley, who made his first start of the season, and 17 points from Chandler Parsons.

Lin had seven points, three assists and four rebounds when he exited with a bruised right-chest muscle. He has averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists for the Rockets this season.

Meanwhile, San Antonio and Indiana also took big strides toward the next stage of the NBA playoffs by winning home games and taking 2-0 series leads.

San Antonio’s Tony Parker had 28 points and seven assists as the Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-91 and Indiana’s Paul George had his highest-scoring playoff game with 27 points to lead the Pacers to a 113-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 16 points each, while Manu Ginobili added 13 points and Matt Bonner had 10.

Parker had 15 points in the third quarter after going one for six in the first half. He scored 12 straight points on a series of layups and floating jumpers against Steve Blake.

Indiana’s George followed his triple-double in Game 1 with an even more prolific outcome to lead the Pacers past the Hawks.

The Pacers have won four straight home games over the Hawks. It is the first time Indiana have held a 2-0 series lead since the 2004 Eastern Conference semi-finals.