The Oklahoma City Thunder adopted a simple mantra for Saturday’s game against the Houston Rockets with their playoff fate still up in the air.
”We just better not lose http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ryan-jensen-jersey ,” Paul George said.
For one night at least, it worked.
George and Russell Westbrook each scored 24 points, and Oklahoma City snapped Houston’s 20-game home winning streak with a 108-102 victory.
The Thunder were down one with about seven minutes left before scoring the next 11 points.
Oklahoma City (46-34) is tied with San Antonio and New Orleans for fifth in the loaded Western Conference, a half-game behind idle Utah. The Thunder can clinch a playoff spot with a victory at Miami on Monday.
”This game was important but the Monday game is just as important as this game because if we don’t take care of business Monday then this game doesn’t really mean anything,” said Carmelo Anthony, who had 22 points.
The Thunder took two of three in the season series against the NBA-best Rockets.
James Harden had 26 points for Houston, and Chris Paul added 17.
”I thought we tasted the playoff atmosphere because these guys are fighting for their lives and we’re not,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said. ”It’s human nature, there’s no reward in winning.”
Paul hit a step-back jumper and Gerald Green scored to give the Rockets a 92-91 lead with 7:09 left. But Westbrook scored five quick points to start an 11-0 run by Oklahoma City that made it 102-92 with about four minutes remaining.
Houston went scoreless for more than four minutes Rashaad Penny Color Rush Jersey , missing seven shots and committing three turnovers as Oklahoma City pulled away. The Thunder also blocked three shots in that span.
”Just doing what you’ve got to do to win, honestly,” Westbrook said.
The Rockets scored five straight points with less than a minute left to get within five, but George made two free throws to help secure the win.
Anthony made three of the Thunder’s 10 3-pointers. He said it was important for them to be in attack mode right from the start.
”It was one of those days, understanding the situation that we’re in and just trying to be aggressive out there on both ends and go after it from the beginning,” he said.
The Thunder led by as many as 11 in the first half, but Houston used a 5-1 spurt take a 62-61 lead at halftime.
Thunder: Westbrook also had 10 assists. … Oklahoma City had five blocked shots, including two from Jerami Grant. … Steven Adams added 12 points.
Rockets: Paul received a technical foul in the second quarter after arguing after being called for an offensive foul. … Ryan Anderson missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Eric Gordon also sat out for the second straight game with a sore left ankle.
THEY SAID IT
Harden on if the Rockets are where they want to be with the playoffs starting in a week: ”We’re good. We’re in a great place right now. We have two more games to close it out and be ready for the playoffs.”
THE BIG THREE
Saturday was just the third time this season where Houston has lost when Harden, Paul and Clint Capela all played. The Rockets are 41-3 when each member of the trio plays and their three losses have come by a total of 11 points.
Thunder: Visit Heat on Monday night.
Rockets: Visit Lakers on Tuesday night.
So about that swipe P.K. Subban took at the speedy forward causing Nashville so much grief.
”Playoff hockey Malik Jefferson Jersey Elite ,” the Predators defenseman said a day after clocking Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon in the side of the head with his right glove. Once untangled, both were sent to the penalty box for holding during Colorado’s 5-3 win Monday.
”Do it again next game,” Subban said .
This series definitely took a step toward the chippy side as the top-seeded Predators lead 2-1 heading into Game 4 in Denver on Wednesday.
”We’re just getting to know each other, right?” Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov said. ”It’s the playoffs. It’s always like that. It’s fun. They’re an experienced team that went to the final last season, and they know what to do to draw penalties. Sometimes after the whistle.”
On a play in the second period Monday, Mackinnon was skating along the boards when Subban poked at the puck with his stick in his left hand and then delivered a blow with his right. Subban tossed MacKinnon to the ice as teammates rushed in. Subban was booed by the raucous crowd the rest of the night.
”I just try to play hard,” Subban said. ”I don’t really hear it anymore. It’s happened so much over my career. Just try to go out there and do my job, be an impactful player when I’m on the ice.”
Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog understands the heightened emotions this time of year. Even more so since the Avalanche haven’t been in postseason position since 2014.
”There’s a lot on the line,” Landeskog said. ”If you’re not emotionally involved Cheap Billy Price Jersey , it would be weird. You leave everything on the ice. That’s what we did. I’m sure they feel the same way on the other side.”
Subban relishes the physical nature of a series – and perhaps getting under the skin of an opposing forward or two.
”It’s easy to get into it when you know you’re going to hit somebody, when you know you have to finish all your checks,” Subban said. ”Next game should be another physical one.”
So far, Colorado has scored the game’s first goal in each contest. What’s more, the Avs hold a 5-0 advantage in first-period scoring during the series.
That’s partly why Nashville went through a frenzied practice Tuesday, complete with some light checking.
”Today, there was a message behind it and some passion in our practice,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. ”It was great to see. Not only competing but making plays. We need that to translate into the game.”
Goaltender Pekka Rinne was sharp as well, turning back just about everything thrown at him during practice. That hasn’t been the case in a series where he’s given up 10 scores and has a 4.17 goals-against average. Rinne was taken out Monday with Colorado leading 4-0 after MacKinnon’s second goal of the game at 4:25 of the second period.
”For sure Authentic Tyquan Lewis Jersey , yesterday was a disappointing night for all of us,” Rinne said. ”We need to bounce back.”
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette isn’t that concerned with the psyche of his elite goaltender – or that of his team, which advanced to the Stanley Cup Final a season ago before losing to Pittsburgh.
”If we could’ve played at noon, they’d all want to play right away,” Laviolette said. ”That’s the nature of competitive people.”
And that’s why Landeskog thinks the Avalanche will see a revamped Rinne on Wednesday.
”He’s a real good goaltender and made it tough on us all series long really,” Landeskog said. ”I’m sure he’s going to want to come back and have a good game.”
NOTES: Colorado D Samuel Girard practiced Tuesday while wearing a non-contact jersey. He’s day-to-day, coach Jared Bednar said.
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