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NBA playoffs: Harden powers past illness, lifts Rockets 107-100

Published: Friday, Aug. 28 2015 3:42 a.m. MDT

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks reacts to a call in the second quarter of Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 1, 2013.  (Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press) Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks reacts to a call in the second quarter of Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press)

OKLAHOMA CITY — James Harden scored 31 points and sank seven 3-pointers while fighting through flu-like symptoms, and the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-100 Wednesday night to pull within 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.

Harden made the first seven 3s he tried and Houston led by as many as 16 before fending off a rally that Oklahoma City helped stymie with its own strategy.

The Thunder, apparently doubting they could overcome an eight-point lead on their home court without Russell Westbrook, resorted to intentionally fouling Omer Asik — a 54 percent career foul shooter — with 5:33 to play. Asik went 8 for 12 from the line, extending Houston's lead to 101-92 with 3:53 remaining before Oklahoma City gave up the tactic.

Kevin Durant finished with 36 points for Oklahoma City, which must now travel to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night.

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