NBA Playoffs: Rockets and Nets survive, Hawks even series

By Kristie Rieken

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 29 2013 11:03 p.m. MDT

Houston Rockets' Greg Smith (4) shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka (9) during the second quarter of Game 4 in their first-round NBA basketball playoff series Monday, April 29, 2013, in Houston.

David J. Phillip, Associated Press

HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets escaped elimination with a 105-103 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

Chandler Parsons scored 27 points and Patrick Beverley added 16 points with point guard Jeremy Lin out with a bruised chest muscle. Houston avoided a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series.

The Rockets led in the fourth quarter of each of the last two games only to end up losing. And it almost happened again Monday.

Kevin Durant scored five quick points to cut the Rockets' lead to two. James Harden missed two shots for Houston after that and the Thunder had a last chance.

Reggie Jackson missed a jump shot and Serge Ibaka grabbed the rebound, but missed a layup at the buzzer.

A stunned Ibaka fell to the court after the miss.

Durant scored 38 points in Oklahoma City's second game without injured All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.


NEW YORK — Kirk Hinrich was missing. So was Chicago's usual rebounding and defense.

Tom Thibodeau is used to being without key players, but counts on the Bulls having the other skills.

"He's not out there, but I think it was a three-point game with seven minutes to go. We've got to find a way to get it done," the Chicago coach said. "So we didn't play our best, the rebounding was a big problem and defensively we've got to get it together."

Brook Lopez had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists, and the Nets beat Chicago 110-91 on Monday night, cutting the Bulls' lead to 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.

Recovering from a collapse two days earlier that sent them home on the brink of elimination instead of tied, the Nets battered the Bulls on the boards and forced Chicago into being the team that wilted down the stretch.

"We came out very aggressive, as we have the past few games. I think the difference was just we sustained it for essentially a full 48 minutes tonight," Lopez said.

Andray Blatche scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Gerald Wallace had consecutive baskets in the finishing surge as the Nets finally pulled away in a game they led most of the way, but never by too much.

Two days after rallying for a 142-134 triple-overtime victory, the Bulls were outscored 15-1 at the finish and failed to set up a second-round series with Miami. Instead they will host Game 6 on Thursday.

"It was just a lot of mental mistakes. A lot of mental mistakes," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I feel like we had our chances. We beat ourselves. They played well. You've got to give credit when credit is due and now it's on us to come back and be ready for Game 6."

If the Nets win that one, they would host Game 7 on Saturday.

Nate Robinson had 20 points and eight assists starting in place of point guard Hinrich, who bruised his left calf in Saturday's game and was in a walking boot Monday morning.

"For us, I knew it was going to be tough; it was going to be a challenge," Robinson said. "At the same time, we've been here before playing with a guy short. It's something we've got to do. We've just got to muster something and bring that energy and continue to play like we've been playing."

Jimmy Butler scored 18 points for the Bulls, who were outrebounded 44-33 and gave up 24 second-chance points. Brooklyn shot 50 percent from the field.

"That's the difference in the game, the rebounding," Thibodeau said. "If you defend fairly well and then you give a team a second and a third crack at it, it's hard to win like that."

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