Westbrook's triple-double leads Thunder past Rockets 115-113

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) " Russell Westbrook figured out he didn't have to do it all.

Once that happened, the Thunder figured out how to beat the Houston Rockets.

Westbrook scored 32 points in a triple-double and the Thunder held off the Rockets 115-113 on Friday night to cut their deficit to 2-1 in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Westbrook scored 51 points in a triple-double on Wednesday, but the Rockets won, and Westbrook was criticized for shooting too much. This time, shots and contributions were distributed more evenly throughout the game. Taj Gibson scored 20 points and Andre Roberson and Victor Oladipo each added 12 for the Thunder, who shot 55 percent from the field.

"I had to do a better job of trusting my teammates for 48 minutes," Westbrook said. "Tonight, those guys made plays throughout the whole game. That's what I'm trying to do."

James Harden scored 44 points for Houston, but he missed a 3-pointer that could have won the game just before time expired.

"We were down two, so I just wanted to get the best shot available, honestly," Harden said.

"I didn't try to overthink it or whatnot. I just dribbled up the basketball court and I see the paint kind of close in once I passed halfcourt. I gave him (Roberson) a little jab, and he bit for it, and I just shot the ball. I shot it with confidence. It was a little bit short."

Lou Williams scored 22 points and Ryan Anderson added 18 for the Rockets, who nearly overcame a double-digit, second-half deficit again. Instead, the Thunder will host Game 4 on Sunday in a much better position.

"We did enough offensively," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We just didn't have the will or the want early in the game. It's a little bit of a recurring theme we have. It takes us a while to get going. We'll address it and try to get it better, because we've got to play the whole 48 (minutes) like we did the last 24, and the last two games we have not done that."

Westbrook also had 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his second straight triple-double and the seventh playoff triple-double of his career.

Houston closed the gap throughout the final period. Harden was fouled with 8.8 seconds left, and he made two free throws to cut Oklahoma City's lead to 114-113. Westbrook went to the line with 8.4 seconds to play and missed one of the two free throws, giving the Rockets a chance before Harden's final miss.

Backup Thunder point guard Norris Cole provided some key minutes to help Westbrook. After not playing in Game 2, he scored five points on 3-for-5 shooting in 9:28 and did not commit a turnover.

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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