Eric Gordon to make it 114104 with 1:22 remaining.
“Down the stretch you’ve just got to be ready,” Gordon said. “James draws a lot of attention. So I was ready for that shot. It was great timing to knock down a shot like that.”
Westbrook had four straight points to start a 7-1 run after that, but the Thunder wouldn’t get any closer.
This was a much different game than the series opener, when Houston routed the Thunder 118-87. On Wednesday night, Houston trailed by as many as 15 and didn’t take a lead until the fourth quarter.
The Rockets benefited from a balanced scoring attack, with Lou Williams adding 21, Gordon scoring 22 off the bench and Game 1 star Beverley chipping in 15.
Houston used a big run early in the fourth quarter to go on top for the first time in the game with about eight minutes remaining. Harden’s 3 about three minutes later made it 104-100.
Andre Roberson added a tip-in layup for the Thunder before two free throws by Westbrook tied it at 104-all with about 3 minutes left.
The Thunder led by seven with about nine minutes left in the third quarter before Westbrook had four quick points to extend the lead to 79-68. Houston scored the next six points, but Oklahoma City answered with seven points in a row after that, with five from Westbrook, to extend the lead to 86-74 with about 3 minutes left in the quarter.
The Thunder led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but Houston had cut the lead to 68-62 at halftime. TIP-INS Thunder: Westbrook was just two rebounds shy of a triple-double by halftime with 22 points and 10 assists. … Roberson was Oklahoma City’s second-leading scorer with 12 points. … Oklahoma City made just 7 of 30 3-pointers.
Rockets: Houston has won five in a row over Oklahoma City including regular-season games. … Capela had 10 rebounds. .. Harden made 18 of 20 free throws.
WILLIAMS OFF THE BENCH
Wednesday was the 31st time this season that Williams has scored 20 or more points off the bench this season. He is one of just four players since 1993-94 to score at least 20 points off the bench at least 30 times in a season.
“We looked like we needed some energy, looked like we needed a spark and I think in the first and second half (the second unit) was able to do it,” he said. THEY SAID IT Thunder center Steve Adams on what went wrong late: “We just weren’t taking the greatest of shots, and they really capitalized on that. It was a combination of things and our mental stamina needs to be a little better.” UP NEXT The series moves to Oklahoma City for Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday.
WARRIORS 110, TRAIL BLAZERS 81
JaVale McGee has made a name for himself catching lob passes and reliably slamming them home to the pure delight of his teammates, and oh did those matter for the short-handed Golden State Warriors as they moved one win closer to another NBA championship.
The typically spot-on Splash Brothers weren’t hitting consistently. Kevin Durant wasn’t on the court at all, nor Shaun Livingston.
McGee shined on a night none of the usual stars found their steady shooting strokes and sparked Golden State off the bench with 15 points, and the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 110-81 in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night as Durant sat out injured.
“That’s my whole thing, I just try to be efficient out there,” McGee said.
The backup big man made all seven of his field-goal attempts and delivered several more of his signature alley-oop dunks as Durant watched with a strained left calf he hurt in the playoff opener Sunday.
“Sometimes we get caught up in looking for him too much when he’s not open because we feel he can do something spectacular above the rim,” Stephen Curry said.
Draymond Green put together another fantastic all-around game, getting 12 rebounds, 10 assists, six points and three more blocked shots after swatting five in Sunday’s win.
Curry went 6 for 18 for 19 points and also had six assists and six rebounds. Klay Thompson was 6 of 17 with 16 points and CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard were hardly were the dynamic scoring duo for Portland they’d been combining for 75 points only three days earlier.
Again, Golden State did it on defense -- holding the Blazers to 12 points in the third.
“Our offense got scattered, we were rushing everything. We were just not poised offensively and that put our defense in a bad position,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I thought in the third quarter we settled our offense down which helped our defense.”
And now the Warriors own a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series as it shifts to Portland for Saturday’s Game 3, just as Kerr’s group did going ahead on the Blazers in last year’s Western Conference semifinal won in five games.
“We’ve got to have this one,” Lillard said.
Maurice Harkless scored all of his 15 points in the first half and the Blazers gave up seven straight points to start the third as the Warriors were off and running. Portland played again without center Jusuf Nurkic, and missed him. The 7-footer still isn’t 100 percent from a nondisplaced fracture in his right leg that sidelined him for the final seven regular-season games.
McCollum, who shot 16 for 28 to score 41 in the 121-109 Game 1 loss, scored 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting. Lillard was 5 for 17 and held to 12 points.
“Coming in the first two games we just wanted to take one,” Lillard said. “We didn’t do that.”
WIZARDS 109, HAWKS 101
WASHINGTON (AP) -Through the first three quarters of Game 2 of the Washington Wizards’ opening playoff series, Bradley Beal made only 6 of 18 shots. And that came after shooting just 9 for 21 in Game 1.
Did all of those misses bother him? Not one bit. Instead, he relied on a silly play on words that he says his agent taught him.
“It’s something I always tell myself: I don’t know what a ‘miss’ is. A ‘miss’ is a ‘lady,’” Beal explained with a smile. “Everybody’s confident in me. Coach is more than confident in me. So I just rise up and shoot it.”
In a rough-and-tumble, foulfilled game, Beal and backcourt mate John Wall took over in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, combining to score 20 of Washington’s last 21 points in a 109-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks that gave the Wizards a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference series.
Beal finished with 31 points, 16 on 6-of-9 shooting in the final period.
“He’s a franchise guy, with me, also on this team. We need him to be the scorer for us,” Wall said. “We don’t care if he shoots the ball 30 times.”
Wall earned chants of “M-V-P!” while contributing 32 points and nine assists, including a dish to Beal for his key 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining that sealed the win for the hosts. As soon as Beal let the ball fly, Wall raised both arms in celebration.
“When he shoots it,” Wall said of that shot, “it’s game over.”
Washington, which trailed 78-74 entering the final period, won despite a total of only seven points from starting forwards Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr., who were both in foul trouble early.
“It was a tricky game to coach,” said Washington’s Scott Brooks, who avoided postgame criticism of the officiating, joking that he already knew he would be getting a text message from his daughter about a $2,000 fine he drew for a technical foul. Game 3 is Saturday at Atlanta. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Dennis Schroder scored 23 points.