Westbrook stars in Oklahoma City Thunder's crucial victory


Patrick Beverley struggled for the second game in a row but Trevor Ariza had easily his best game of the series, scoring 14 points on 4-for-8 shooting and the bench came through in a big way. They've only won one.

But that defensive intensity vanished in the last 14 minutes.

Gerald Green scored a playoff-career-high 18 points, and Al Horford finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who blew a 20-point lead but managed to bounce back.

The Rockets' reserve center had 28 points and 10 rebounds, making all 12 of his field-goal tries, in Houston's 113-109 win over Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday.

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Roberson has now made just 2 of 17 free throws during the series.

With 41.8 seconds left to play, Houston's James Harden found himself isolated against Thunder defender Victor Oladipo. They finally caught Nene under the basket, but forward Jerami Grant fouled Nene on a layup attempt giving up a three-point opportunity. Harden also needs just 44 points to surpass Moses Malone (1,089) for the second-most playoff points in Rockets' history. The Thunder led 58-54 at the break.

The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook, who finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists, and he racked up a triple double by halftime. They were plus-5 in Adams' 37 minutes too. Norris Cole was a trainwreck, finishing 0-3 from the field with 0 assists and 1 turnover. He has provided experience and versatility to an already stacked frontline that includes emerging young players Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. I've been railing on him most of the season, but his presence down low was key to Houston's frustrations on dribble drives.

Westbrook, who gets more touches per game than nearly any other National Basketball Association player and often carries the Thunder on his back, finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists. And it has to be just as demoralizing for Oklahoma City players. He didn't shoot the ball great but he actually made a couple really nice plays on the defensive end. Donovan also needs to leave Enes Kanter, whose issues on defense continue to be relentlessly exposed whenever he checks into a game, nailed to the bench.

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Despite the questionable officiating, this was a game the Thunder shouldn't have lost. They were up on Houston virtually the entire game and they had a distinct advantage on both ends of the court.

When they took the lead with 4:01 to play they were in front for the first time since the first quarter. Oklahoma City went away from him late, and Houston rallied for the victory.

The reporter tried explaining to Westbrook he's not splitting up the team, he just wants to know why twice in three games the team has not played well when he's on the bench.

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