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Rockets playoff bound after escaping Thunder
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden scored 39 points, pulled down nine rebounds and dished out seven assists to guide the Houston Rockets to a playoff-clinching 111-107 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kevin Durant matched Michael Jordan's career-long streak by scoring at least 25 points in 40 straight games. The Thunder star had 28 points, 12 boards and six assists, but he missed a potential tying 3-point shot in the final minute.
Chandler Parsons had 23 points and Terrence Jones contributed 16 points and 11 boards for the Rockets, who were without Dwight Howard (strained left ankle). They still managed to pick up win No. 50.
Serge Ibaka tied a career-high with 27 points to go with nine rebounds and six blocks for the Thunder, who rested Russell Westbrook since OKC played and beat the Spurs Thursday night.
Durant has a chance to break Jordan's streak, which goes back to the 1986-87 season, Sunday night at Phoenix. Durant last failed to score 25 or more points on Jan. 5 versus Boston.
Harden made 8-of-11 foul shots in the fourth quarter, including a 4-for-4 effort in the final 23.2 seconds.
Durant's 3-ball had the visitors within 105-104, but Omer Asik sank two from the charity stripe with 38 seconds left after Harden's driving shot resulted in an air ball.
Another 3 from Durant had the Thunder within 109-107 with 16.4 seconds left, but Harden made two more free throws with 14 seconds left. After Durant missed another 3-point shot, the Thunder chose not to foul as the clock ran out.
Houston scored 14 of the game's first 18 points and led 27-23 after 12 minutes. The Rockets were up as many as 14 in the second and held a 50-45 edge at the half.
Ibaka scored 12 in the third quarter when the Thunder surged back ahead. OKC went 14-of-22 from the field in the period, but saw an eight-point lead whittled down to 84-82 at quarter's end following Harden's driving jam.
Jeremy Lin started the fourth with a 3-pointer to put Houston in front, and the Rockets were up as many as six in the final period after a 7-0 spurt moved them to a 104-98 cushion on Francisco Garcia's 3-ball inside three minutes.
The Thunder won the season series, 3-1 ... Reggie Jackson had 17 points for OKC ... Asik had nine points and 12 boards ... Both teams were 13-of-31 from beyond the arc.
04/05 01:09:07 ET
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