Notebook: Thunder 103, Rockets 94



Posted May 4, 2013 1:40 AM

Matt Miller, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Kevin Durant's teammates stepped up in a big way to help the Oklahoma City Thunder close out their first-round Western Conference series with the Houston Rockets with a 103-94 victory Friday at Toyota Center.

Durant scored 27 points to go with eight rebounds and six assists to pace six double-figure scorers for Oklahoma City, which limited Houston to only 40 points on 32.4 percent (12-for-37) shooting overall after halftime to take the series 4-2. Kevin Martin added 25 points on 7-for-13 shooting, while Reggie Jackson poured in 17 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed seven boards. Martin was not the only Thunder reserve who delivered in Game 6. Oklahoma City's bench outscored the Rockets' reserves 46-11.

James Harden led Houston with 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds, but he connected on only 7-for-22 from the field. Chandler Parsons contributed 25 points and seven boards, and Omer Asik (13 points, 13 rebounds) recorded his third consecutive double-double.

QUOTABLE: "I liked the guy's commitment to helping each other out. ... I thought our team spirit was at the highest level it's been all series."
-- Thunder coach Scott Brooks

THE STAT: Brooks said before the game that he was confident his guards would knock down open looks from the perimeter, which is exactly what occurred Friday. Oklahoma City shot 40.7 percent (11-for-27) from 3-point range, including a 6-for-10 (60.0 percent) effort from its bench.

TURNING POINT: The Thunder seized control of the contest at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when they put together a 14-4 spurt to stretch a 78-77 advantage to 92-81. Oklahoma City's defense fueled the surge, as it limited the Rockets to 1-for-7 shooting and forced two turnovers over Houston's first nine possessions of the final stanza.

QUOTABLE II: "We went up by 10, and we just let it slip away. ... In that fourth quarter, we were just stagnant from there on out. We couldn't get any movement and couldn't get any good shots."
-- James Harden

HOT: Critics of the Thunder called for Martin to step up after back-to-back defeats, and the ninth-year shooting guard did so in a big way to help Oklahoma City put the sleeper hold on Houston. The ninth-year shooting guard delivered his most efficient half of the postseason over the first two quarters, finishing with 21 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Martin also provided the Thunder with some excellent off-ball action to earn eight free-throw attempts before the break.

QUOTABLE III: "I text Kevin [Martin] after Game 5, and I just told him God is setting him up for a big-time game on the floor he used to play in, so I had faith he was going to come out here, be aggressive and have a really good game. ... Tonight, he carried us in that first half when I was struggling."
-- Kevin Durant

NOT: The Rockets' 72-62 lead quickly evaporated as they converted only one shot attempt over the final 6:22 of the third quarter.

GOOD MOVE: Brooks was not afraid to bail on starting center Kendrick Perkins, whose overly aggressive antics early in the contest dealt too much damage to Oklahoma City. Perkins played the first four-plus minutes of the opening period before Brooks switched to a smaller lineup that included Nick Collison (10 points, nine rebounds) to pull the Thunder out of a 16-5 deficit.

BAD MOVE: Durant lit a fire under Parsons when he lowered his shoulder into the second-year forward on the final play before halftime. Parsons opened the third period in unconscious fashion, nailing three of four attempts from the promise land to spearhead an 18-4 Houston run over the first 6:15 of the second half.

QUOTABLE IV: "Everybody feels bad, but it's the start of a journey for these guys together as a group collectively. The only way that journey gets to be fulfilled is you got to trust each other more. You've got to go out there and build trust with each other. You've got to build symmetry. You've got to build chemistry."
-- Rockets coach Kevin McHale

NOTABLE: The Rockets announced before the game that reserve wing Carlos Delfino will undergo surgery in the offseason after a CT scan revealed he has a bone fracture in his right foot. ... Houston guard Jeremy Lin returned to Houston's lineup after missing the last two games with a chest contusion, but he came off the bench for the first time this season. ... Oklahoma City, which was outscored in the paint by an average of 43.2-36.4 over the first five games of this series, finished with a 40-24 edge in the paint. ... The Thunder shot a perfect 16-for-16 at the free-throw line. ... Oklahoma City netted 23 points off the Rockets' 16 turnovers.

UP NEXT: Oklahoma City has advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs and will face the Memphis Grizzlies. Game 1 is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Sunday.