Basketball

Nene seals it for Rockets at the death

HOUSTON ROCKETS OKLAHOMA CITY 
THUNDER
118 116

Russell Westbrook repeatedly had his way with the Rockets defence, torching it to the tune of a Toyota Center scoring record for an opponent.

Then came three late misses, which set the table for James Harden to play the role of facilitator at the most opportune time for Houston.

Nene Hilario corralled a pass from Harden, absorbed a foul, and sank two free-throws with 0.7 seconds left as the Houston Rockets eked out a 118-116 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Nene finished with a season-high 18 points over 17 minutes.

"They (the Thunder) did a good job (setting up defensively) on the first play, so we called a time-out," Harden said.

"I just got open and I saw two defenders guarding me, made the simple play to Nene and he knocked down two free- throws."

    • Indiana Pacers 121 Brooklyn Nets 109
    • Detroit Pistons 115 
Charlotte Hornets 114
    • Toronto Raptors 101 Utah Jazz 93
    • New Orleans Pelicans 94 
Atlanta Hawks 99
    • Dallas Mavericks 95 Phoenix Suns 102
    • Denver Nuggets 99 
San Antonio Spurs 127
    • Portland Trail Blazers 118 
Los Angeles Lakers 109. 

     

Harden posted 26 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists.

All five Rockets starters scored in double figures, including guard Patrick Beverley (11 points, eight rebounds). Eric Gordon scored 22 off the bench.

The Rockets (28-9) regained possession after Westbrook missed a pull-up jumper with 5.7 seconds left, his third consecutive errant shot following a three-pointer that cut the Houston lead to 114-113 with 2:38 left.

"There is nothing to take you through," Westbrook said of his final attempt.

"I missed the shot."

Westbrook scored 49 points, sinking a career-best eight three-pointers.

He added eight rebounds and five assists for the Thunder (21-16), who have lost four of five games and three in a row.

Houston took a 2-1 season-series lead against the Thunder, with all three contests decided by one possession. - REUTERS

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