OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 29 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder recovered after squandering a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter to beat the Houston Rockets 105-102 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 series lead.
Durant hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:28 to play, and the Thunder didn’t relinquish the lead after that. Durant missed a free throw with 1 second left, but Houston was out of timeouts and Carlos Delfino couldn’t connect on a desperation shot at the final buzzer.
James Harden scored 36 points and spearheaded a 21-2 comeback that wiped out the big deficit and put the Rockets up 95-91. But the top-seeded Thunder were able to respond and protect the home-court advantage they’d spent all season earning.
Game 3 is Saturday night in Houston.
The Thunder’s big lead melted away with nine straight empty possessions as the Rockets mixed in a zone defense. Harden was able to get into the lane to create his own opportunities, and he also kicked the ball out to set up two 3-pointers by Delfino. His second 3, from the right wing, provided a four-point lead with 3:27 to go.
Oklahoma City came back to tie it before Harden knifed to the basket for a layup to give Houston its last lead at 97-95 with 2:42 to play. Durant answered right away with a deep 3 from the left wing at the opposite end, and the Thunder came up with back-to-back stops before Thabo Sefolosha’s 3 provided a little breathing room at 101-97.
Spurs 102, Lakers 91: In San Antonio, Tony Parker had 28 points and seven assists and San Antonio beat the Los Angeles Lakers to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 16 points each, Manu Ginobili added 13 points and Matt Bonner had 10 for San Antonio.
Dwight Howard and Steve Blake had 16 points each to lead Los Angeles. Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol added 13 points each, but no other player had more than nine as the Lakers shot 45 percent from the field.
Pacers 113, Hawks 98: In Indianapolis, Paul George followed his triple-double by scoring a playoff career-high 27 points to lead Indiana past Atlanta.
The Pacers lead the best-of-seven first-round series 2-0 and have won four straight home games over the Hawks. It’s the first time Indiana has held a 2-0 series lead since the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals.
George, playing in his first game since being named the league’s Most Improved Player, was 11 of 21 from the field, had eight rebounds, three assists and four steals and again played well defensively. George Hill had 22 points.
Atlanta was led by Devin Harris with 17 points. Jeff Teague and Josh Smith both had 16.
The Hawks head home for Game 3 on Saturday.
The Hawks did play with more passion after being chastised by coach Larry Drew for not playing through calls and getting “manhandled” by the Pacers in Game 1.
The problem on Wednesday was that they got too aggressive at times. Josh Smith drew two fouls in the first 2 minutes and spent most of the game in foul trouble. An angry Al Horford charged toward an official in the second quarter after already picking up one technical and, fortunately for the Hawks, Harris grabbed Horford with two hands and pulled him away.
— keeping Horford and the Hawks in the game. Atlanta’s other big inside players, Johan Petro and Ivan Johnson got into foul trouble in the second half, too.
It resulted in a second straight double-digit loss for the Hawks — a game in which the Pacers produced their highest postseason point total since a 120-87 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals.
In many ways, Wednesday’s game looked awfully similar to what happened Sunday.
After scoring the first six points in Game 1, Atlanta opened Wednesday’s game with the first five points. Then, just like Sunday, the Pacers rallied to take the lead after one quarter and didn’t allow the Hawks to catch up. Indiana extended its 25-19 lead to 59-50 at halftime and to 16 late in the third quarter.
The Hawks did get within 88-76 after three, then watched Indiana go on a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to take a 104-85 lead with 5:41 to go and the Hawks never challenged again.
Notes: Injured Pacers guard Danny Granger presented his friend George with the NBA’s Most Improved Player trophy at midcourt before tip-off. ... Indiana has lost 11 straight at Atlanta. ... Indiana lost starting guard Lance Stephenson late in the first quarter when he landed hard on his right hip after being called for a charge. He was diagnosed with a bruised right hip and did not return until the start of the second half. Hill, the Pacers’ other starting guard, appeared to hurt his right elbow late. ... Indiana is 51 of 63 from the free-throw line over the first two games. Atlanta is just 18 of 34.