HOUSTON -- Eric Gordon and Lou Williams caught fire from the perimeter in the fourth quarter and the Houston Rockets erased a 15-point deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-111 on Wednesday night at Toyota Center in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook posted a triple-double of 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. However, he shot 4 of 18 in the fourth quarter.
Gordon gave the Rockets their first lead with his 3-pointer at the 8:07 mark of the fourth quarter at 96-94. Williams followed with a trey 27 seconds later before James Harden nailed a 3 to push Houston to a 104-100 lead with 5:16 left.
Gordon delivered the decisive shot with 1:48 remaining, drilling a 28-footer off a Harden pass to extend the lead to eight and give Houston a 2-0 series lead. Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night in Oklahoma City.
Gordon tallied 22 points off the bench while Williams added 21. They combined to shoot 6 for 10 on 3s. Houston was 5 for 8 from deep in the fourth quarter. Harden finished with 35 points and eight assists and was 18 for 18 from the free-throw line before missing a pair with 1.7 seconds left.
The Thunder were assertive on both ends to start, attacking the rim on offense while pressing Rockets shooters on the perimeter. Before Houston could muster a second field goal, a Nene dunk with 6:04 left in the first, the Thunder led 20-9.
Oklahoma City extended to a 28-13 lead on two Jerami Grant free throws at the 3:13 mark and scored 35 points in the first quarter without the benefit of a 3-pointer. The Thunder posted 18 points in the paint and seven following offensive rebounds, a complete departure from their puny effort on the glass in Game 1.
The Rockets discovered some rhythm offensively but they rarely made stops on the other end, with Westbrook fueling the Thunder at MVP levels. He had 22 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists at the intermission, and the Rockets needed a lengthy stretch of Harden free throws just to maintain a workable margin.
NOTES: Thunder coach Billy Donovan tweaked his rotation to include F Doug McDermott who, after not playing in the first half of Game 1, scored eight second-quarter points to help keep the second unit afloat. McDermott finished with 11 points in 14 minutes. ... After blocking four shots in Game 1, the Thunder totaled 12 on Wednesday night. Enes Kanter, derided for his defense, had three off the bench. ... Rockets G James Harden scored 30-plus points for the 14th time in his postseason career, second in franchise history.
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