Schroder, Paul help OKC over Houston 119-107 in OT
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Dennis Schroder scored 29 points, Chris Paul added 26 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder dominated in overtime to beat the Houston Rockets 119-107 on Saturday night and cut their deficit in the first-round series to 2-1.
“We just wanted to fight,” Paul said. “We know how tough it is coming back down 3-0. We wanted to fight tonight, and I think that’s what we did.”
James Harden scored 38 points for Houston, but fouled out 53 seconds into overtime — the first time he’s fouled out this season.
The Thunder scored the first 12 points of overtime, powered by two 3-pointers from Paul, to take a 116-104 lead.
“The biggest message I wanted to give the guys was play aggressive an attack,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I thought Dennis set a great tone for that early in the game, and you know what? I’m going to trust those guys.”
Houston missed its first seven shots of overtime before Danuel House made a 3-pointer with less than a minute left. By then it was too late.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Monday.
Harden was disappointed that the Rockets missed a chance to take a commanding lead in the series.
“We definitely let one get away,” he said. “Especially in that last minute and I think, throughout the course of the game we just made too many mental mistakes and gave them an opportunity to score and it’s that simple.”
The Thunder had a balanced scoring attack, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander adding 23 points and Danilo Gallinari had 20.
Paul made a basket to putt the Thunder within three, House then stepped out of bounds to give the Thunder the ball back. A layup by Steven Adams cut it to 102-101 with less than 30 seconds to go in the fourth.
Paul and Harden got tangled up with Harden before the ball was thrown inbounds. Harden made a free throw, but Houston turned it over.
Gilgeous-Alexander put Oklahoma City up 104-103 with a 3 from the corner on an assist by Paul with 14.3 seconds left.
“Once I got by, the pass was easy,” Paul said. “Shai had the hard part in knocking down the shot, and that was a big shot for us.”
House made a three throw to tie, but missed the second. Paul’s reverse layup rolled across the rim and out to send it to overtime.
Jeff Green had 22 points for the Rockets. They have played the entire series without Russell Westbrook, who is out with a strained right quadriceps.
Houston coach Mike D’Antoni told his team after the game to correct its mistakes and move on quickly from this one.
“They executed and some things just messed up a little bit for us,” he said. “So I just told them you don’t get too high or get to the low, it’s one game.”
Rockets: D’Antoni said Westbrook is improving and did some shooting at practice on Friday. But he still isn’t sure when he’ll return. ... Houston made 15 of 50 3-pointers.
Thunder: Adams left the game late with a bruise on his right knee. He had 13 rebounds. Donovan said he could have returned in OT but he stuck with his smaller lineup because that group was playing well.
D’Antoni received a technical foul late in overtime after arguing with officials when they refused to review a play where it appeared that Paul hit Ben McLemore in the groin area.
“I know my guy got hit in a bad place with an elbow so go look at it,” D’Antoni said.
Paul denied that he hit McLemore below the belt on purpose.
“I tried to get by him,” he said. “It was incidental.”
Following Monday’s game, Game 5 is Wednesday.