Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
AFP
Thunder shoot down Rockets, boost playoff bid
(Associated Press) - April 9, 2018 - 12:00am

HOUSTON – 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,” 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.

In other results, Milwaukee trounced New York, 115-102; Brooklyn crushed Chicago, 124-96; New Orleans held off Golden State, 126-120; San Antonio stopped Portland, 116-105; and the Denver Nuggets eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers from the playoff race with a 134-115 rout.

Back in Houston, 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.”                

BASKETBALL HOUSTON ROCKETS NBA OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
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