Thursday, 5 January 2017

[SPORT NEWS]Nene's late free throws lift Rockets over Thunder, 118-116

HOUSTON -- James Harden scored 26 points and Nene made two free throws with 0.7 seconds remaining to lift the Houston Rockets to their sixth straight win, 118-116 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.
Houston overcame Russell Westbrook's 49 points, though the star guard struggled down the stretch.
Nene was fouled by Jerami Grant as he attempted a shot right under the basket, setting up the winning free throws. Nene had a season-high 18 points for his 12th double-digit game this season.
A pair of foul shots by Harden tied it with just under two minutes remaining. The teams combined to miss seven shots after that, with Westbrook missing three in that span, before Nene's free throws.
The Thunder attempted an alley-oop on the inbounds pass after that, but Enes Kanter couldn't finish the play and Houston held on.
Westbrook finished two points shy of his season high as Oklahoma City dropped its third straight.
Houston was clinging to a four-point lead with about 2 1/2 minutes remaining before Westbrook and Victor Oladipo made consecutive 3-pointers to put Oklahoma City up 116-114.
The Rockets had a 14-point lead early the fourth quarter before their offense stalled, and the Thunder went on a 20-7 run to cut the lead to 107-104 with about 5 1/2 minutes left. Westbrook was on the bench for most of that time and Oladipo scored five points during that run before Westbrook returned and capped it with four straight points.
Westbrook had 40 points entering the fourth quarter. But he wasn't getting much help from his teammates, with the rest of the Thunder managing just 43 points as Houston led 97-83 after three.
Westbrook, who finished with eight 3-pointers, made one with about nine minutes left in the third quarter to get Oklahoma City within 10. Houston scored the next eight points to extend the lead to 82-64. Another 3 by Westbrook came after that to end a scoring drought by the Thunder of almost three minutes.
Houston had an 18-point lead with about six minutes left in the quarter when the Thunder scored the next eight points to cut it to 10 again. But Houston responded with an 8-2 spurt, with five points from Eric Gordon, to push the lead to 93-77.
The Rockets used a 12-3 run in the second quarter to take a 54-47 lead with about six minutes until halftime. They led 67-56 at the break.
Westbrook made three 3-pointers in less than 90 seconds late in the first quarter to help Oklahoma City build a 31-17 lead.
Harden got hot soon after that and scored seven points as Houston used a 9-2 run to end the quarter and close the gap to 38-33.


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