Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Kevin Martin added 25 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-94 victory over the Houston Rockets on...
HOUSTON — Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Kevin Martin added 25 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-94 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night, sending them to the second round of the playoffs for the third straight season.
The Rockets were looking to become just the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0.
But the Thunder opened the fourth quarter with a big run to take the lead and cruised to the victory.
Martin finally gave the Thunder someone to take scoring pressure off Durant for the first time since All-Star Russell Westbrook had season-ending knee surgery. Martin had 21 points by halftime and Westbrook’s replacement, Reggie Jackson, helped out by scoring 17 points.
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James Harden, who the Rockets said had strep throat, led Houston with 26 points.
LeBron James is getting his fourth Most Valuable Player award — and the only mystery left is whether the vote was unanimous.
The Miami Heat star will be introduced Sunday as the award winner, according to a person familiar with the results and who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity. James will become the fifth player with at least four MVP awards, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.
James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists this season, shooting a career-best 56 percent.
At Grizzlies 118,
Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 23 points each as Memphis took the first-round series 4-2 and advanced to its second Western Conference semifinals in three seasons.
The Grizzlies had never won four straight postseason games before this series, and they became only the 10th team in NBA history to win four straight after trailing 0-2. They open the second round at Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Knicks 88, at Celtics 80
Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and New York held on after blowing most of a 26-point lead to beat Boston in Game 6 and advance in the postseason for the first time since 2000.
Iman Shumpert scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, when the Celtics cut a 75-49 deficit to four points. But Anthony made a jumper to give New York an 81-75 lead. He then sank a three-pointer and J.R. Smith converted a three-point play to restore the double-digit lead the Knicks had nursed most of the game.
Pacers 81, at Hawks 73
George Hill and David West each scored 21 points and Indiana withstood a furious Atlanta comeback in the fourth quarter, closing out the opening-round playoff series in Game 6.
The home team had won every game until the Hawks returned to Philips Arena and set a franchise record with just nine points in the second quarter on 1-of-15 shooting. The defense broke down in the third, allowing Hill and West to combine for 22 points, and the Pacers built a 65-50 lead going into the fourth quarter.