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    Westbrook shows way as Rockets get past Thunder, reach semis against Lakers

    Sep 3, 2020
    PHOTO: AP

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — James Harden made up for a miserable shooting night with a big blocked shot, Russell Westbrook scored 20 points against his former team and the Houston Rockets edged the Oklahoma City Thunder, 104-102, on Wednesday night (Thursday, Manila time) in Game Seven of their first-round series.

    The Rockets pulled out a tense final game of the first round that lasted long past the final basket as replays and fouls were sorted out.

    In the end, Houston prevailed to set up a second-round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers that begins on Friday despite Harden, the NBA's leading scorer, going 4 for 15 from the field.

    The frantic final seconds of a game that was tight throughout had Houston take the lead for good at 103-102 when P.J. Tucker scored with 1:25 remaining. After changes of possession, the Thunder got the ball to Lu Dort, who attempted a 3-pointer that Harden blocked with 4.8 seconds left.

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    Robert Covington made a free throw with 1.4 seconds to go and Harden was whistled for fouling Danilo Gallinari before the ball was inbounded, giving the Thunder one free throw and the ball. But Gallinari missed the free throw and the Thunder turned it over on the last inbounds pass.

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    Covington had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Eric Gordon also scored 21 points for the Rockets. Harden finished with 17 points and nine assists.

    Dort scored a career-best 30 points for the Thunder and Chris Paul, swapped for Westbrook over the summer, had 19 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds.

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      PHOTO: AP
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