HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets escaped elimination with a 105-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Chandler Parsons scored 27 points for the Rockets 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 previous two games, only to end up losing.
Parsons said, “We felt the pain and frustration from the last two losses ... and we didn’t want that to happen for the third straight time.”
Ex-Sonic Kevin Durant scored five quick points to reduce the Rockets’ lead to two.
James Harden, a former Thunder standout, missed two shots for Houston after that and Oklahoma City had another chance.
Reggie Jackson missed a shot and Serge Ibaka grabbed the rebound, but missed his put-back attempt shortly before the buzzer.
A stunned Ibaka fell to the court after the miss and covered his face with his hands.
“I don’t even want to talk about the play,” he said.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, “The game did not come down to the last play or so. There were little things along the way that we could have done a lot better.”
Durant scored 38 points in Oklahoma City’s second game without injured All-Star guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had knee surgery Saturday and is out for the rest of the playoffs.
Nets extend series
NEW YORK — The Nets’ first season in Brooklyn goes on.
Brook Lopez contributed 28 points and 10 rebounds, Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists and the Nets beat Chicago 110-91, cutting the Bulls’ lead to 3-2 in their East first-round series.
“We came out very aggressive, as we have the past few games,” Lopez said. “I think the difference was just we sustained it for essentially a full 48 minutes tonight.”
Two days after rallying for a 142-134 triple-overtime victory at home, the Bulls were outscored 15-1 down the stretch and failed to set up a second-round series with defending champion Miami.
Instead, they will host Game 6 on Thursday.
The Nets, who used to play in New Jersey, would host a Game 7 on Saturday if they win Game 6.
Hawks get even
ATLANTA — Josh Smith scored 29 points as the Atlanta Hawks built a 17-point lead at halftime, then withstood an Indiana comeback over the final two quarters to even their East first-round series with a 102-91 victory in Game 4.
After struggling for much of the second half, Smith seemingly made every big play down the stretch.
He swished a rare three-pointer, came up with an offensive rebound to set up a three by Kyle Korver and finished off a fast break with a right-handed dunk.
Paul George scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half as the Pacers made a game of it but couldn’t come back from a 57-40 deficit at the break.
Game 5 is Wednesday in Indianapolis.