Steven Adams' season is over after the Oklahoma City Thunder were knocked out of the first round of the NBA playoffs.

The Houston Rockets this afternoon completed a 4-1 series victory over the Thunder, winning game five 105-99 at home.

Former Oklahoma City guard James Harden led the way for the Rockets with 34 points, while the Thunder once more lived and died with Russell Westbrook.

The MVP favourite paced his side with 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, but struggled in the fourth quarter and made only five of his 18 tries from beyond the arc, equalling an NBA record for three-point attempts in a playoff game.

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Oklahoma City were again ineffective when their point guard took a seat on the bench, finishing at -16 for the game while Westbrook was resting to continue a tough series for the second unit.

That topic caused much consternation when it was posed to Adams after the Thunder's defeat in game four earlier in the week, with Westbrook launching a passionate defence of his teammates while the Kiwi remained quiet.

And Adams was again understated today as his fourth season in the NBA came to a close, finishing with seven points and nine rebounds after making a strong start with four first-half blocks.

An exit in the opening round is a far cry from the heights Adams and the Thunder reached last season, when Oklahoma City came within a game of upsetting the Golden State Warriors and advancing to the NBA Finals.

The New Zealand centre excelled in that post-season and seemed set to take his game to new levels. But after All Star Kevin Durant decided to join forces with the Warriors in the off-season, the Thunder campaign became the Westbrook show and Adams' impact was limited.

While Westbrook became the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double across an entire NBA season, Adams finished with 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds a game.

Those numbers were career-highs but the big man was often reduced to spectator as Westbrook guided his team to a 47-35 record, earning the sixth seed in the Western Conference before running into the Rockets.

That was where it ended for Oklahoma City, leaving Adams to look forward to a long off-season before his four-year, US$100 million ($144m) contract begins in late October.