HOUSTON — Kevin Durant scored 41 points in his first game without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder fought off Houston’s late rally to beat the Rockets 104-101 on Saturday night for a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.
Durant scored 27 points in the first half, and the Thunder led by 26 points before a big third-quarter rally by the Rockets put them within striking distance.
Houston regained the lead with about 4 minutes left, and was up with less than a minute remaining. But Durant hit a 3-pointer seconds later to put Oklahoma City on top 100-99.
A turnover by James Harden gave the Thunder the ball back and Derek Fisher made two free throws to push the lead to 3. Harden made a layup, but Reggie Jackson hit two more free throws after that.
Houston had a last chance, but Carlos Delfino’s 3-pointer fell short.
Harden scored 30 points to lead the Rockets in the first playoff game in Houston since 2009.