HOUSTON – Kevin Durant scored 41 points in his first game without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook, and Oklahoma City fought off Houston's late rally Saturday for a 104-101 victory to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.
Durant scored 27 points in the first half, and the Thunder led by 26 points before a big third-quarter rally by the Rockets put them within striking distance.
Houston regained the lead with about 4 minutes left, and was up with less than a minute remaining. But Durant hit a 3-pointer seconds later to put Oklahoma City on top 100-99.
A turnover by James Harden gave the Thunder the ball back and Derek Fisher made two free throws to push the lead to 3. Harden made a layup, but Reggie Jackson hit two more free throws after that.
Houston had a last chance, but Carlos Delfino's 3-pointer fell short.
Harden scored 30 points to lead the Rockets in the first playoff game in Houston since 2009.
Game 4 is Monday night in Houston
GRIZZLIES 104, CLIPPERS 83
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Marc Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Memphis beat Los Angeles to even the first-round playoff series at 2-all.
Zach Randolph finished with 24 points and nine rebounds as the Grizzlies won their second straight to ensure another stop in Memphis for Game 6. Mike Conley had 15 points and 13 assists, and Tayshaun Prince scored 15 in his best game of the series.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had 19 points apiece for the Clippers, and Griffin also grabbed 10 rebounds. Los Angeles' reserves outscored its counterparts again, 43-16. But DeAndre Jordan was the only other starter to score for Los Angeles, and he had two points. Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler went a combined 0 for 10 from the floor in being shut out.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
HAWKS 90, PACERS 69
ATLANTA – Al Horford had 26 points and 16 rebounds as Atlanta turned things around dramatically in its playoff series against Indiana, blowing out the Pacers in Game 3.
Playing with much more urgency than they did in two double-digit losses at Indianapolis, the Hawks raced to a 54-30 halftime lead and narrowed the best-of-seven series to 2-1. Game 4 is Monday night in Atlanta, where the Hawks have won 12 straight over the Pacers dating to 2006.
The Hawks changed up their lineup – inserting 7-footer Johan Petro at center and bringing 3-point specialist Kyle Korver off the bench – after getting manhandled on the road. With more favorable matchups and a lot more energy, Atlanta suddenly made a series of it.
Indiana, which looked so dominant on its home court, was a totally different team after heading south. David West led the Pacers with 18 points. Paul George, who averaged 25 points in the first two games, was held to 16 on 4-of-11 shooting. The Pacers connected on a dismal 27 percent (22 of 81) from the field.