Harden and Rockets advance past Westbrook's Thunder, Spurs poised

Updated: 

The Houston Rockets eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder from the NBA playoffs, while the San Antonio Spurs moved a step closer to the next round.

James Harden and the Rockets advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals thanks to Tuesday's 105-99 win.

The Rockets sent Russell Westbrook and the Thunder packing from the postseason following a 4-1 first-round series defeat.

Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills starred as the Spurs outlasted the Utah Jazz 116-103 in San Antonio.

Thanks to Leonard's 28 points and 20 from Mills, the Spurs now lead 3-2 in the west and are one win away from the semis.

Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz earned a 3-2 series lead after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 96-92.

 

HARDEN UPSTAGES WESTBROOK

The Thunder needed Westbrook to play all 48 minutes of Tuesday's first-round playoff game against the Rockets. He played 42 minutes, and rested for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. OKC held a three point lead after three quarters. By the time Westbrook returned, the Thunder were down by five and never recovered.

In the six minutes Westbrook was off the floor, the Rockets outscored the Thunder 27-9. Westbrook was visibly gassed in the fourth quarter, going just two of 11 from the floor. He was still able to hustle to a couple of rebounds in the final minute to keep the Thunder close, but it was not enough to keep his team alive.

Westbrook's historic season, with an NBA-record 42 triple-doubles and becoming the first player since Oscar Robertson in the 1961-62 season to average a triple-double, came to an end with another bit of statistical history. With his 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists on Tuesday, Westbrook became the first player in the NBA to have at least 150 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists through the first five games of a playoff series.

Harden, Westbrook's main competitor for NBA MVP, scored 34 points with eight rebounds and four assists to lead the Rockets, who await the winner of the Grizzlies-Spurs series.

 

LEONARD AND MILLS LEAD THE WAY

The difference was Leonard and his team-mate Mills on Tuesday.

Leonard fell just short of 30 points, while back-to-back three-pointers from Mills helped break the game open.

Tony Parker added 16 points for the Spurs, who are in Memphis for game six on Thursday.

Grizzlies star Mike Conley had 26 points.

 

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO, I CAN DO BETTER!

 

JAZZ MOVE AHEAD

The Jazz are a force to be reckoned with and they showed that again in Los Angeles.

Gordon Hayward put up 27 points and eight rebounds, while Rudy Gobert's double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds helped the Jazz over the line.

Big games from Chris Paul (28 points), JJ Redick (26 points) and DeAndre Jordan (14 points, 12 rebounds) were not enough for the Clippers.

 

SERIES LEADS UP FOR GRABS

Both of Wednesday's fixtures involve teams deadlocked. The Washington Wizards host the Atlanta Hawks with the series level at 2-2. It is the same scenario with the Boston Celtics, who are at home to the Chicago Bulls.