Kevin Martin scored 32 points as the Houston Rockets edged the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-95.
Kevin Martin scored 32 points, including two late free throws to push the Rockets past the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-95 despite a flurry of last-possession shots by the Thunder that included a Kevin Durant runner that missed and the Russell Westbrook follow-up layup that failed to mark as well.
Durant and Westbrook, who scored 59 points between them with 16 combined rebounds, led the Thunder back from an early deficit on the strength of their strong transition play (along with third amigo James Harden) and efficiency in the pick and roll. The trio accounted for 80 percent of the Thunder scoring for the night, and they needed it after a 29-13 Rocket first quarter lead.
The Rockets jumped out early behind Martin and Chandler Parsons, who along with scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds for the game also played some excellent early defense on Durant, getting a couple of steals from the All-Star for his efforts.
Durant got even later, scoring in the fourth quarter on Parsons on two excellent plays. One was a fantastic pick and roll from Westbrook as Parsons got stuck on the hard show and couldn't get back to Durant, who slammed to put the Thunder up by two with six minutes left. The other was a great cut to the basket when Parsons guessed wrong on a screen and Durant simply stepped towards the basket, got the rocket pass from Harden and layed it in to put the Thunder back on top by one with 3:40 left to play.
But that would be it for Durant, as he would misfire on his last four shots, all in the last minute of the game and three on that final Thunder possession.
Houston's balanced attack beyond the efforts of Martin and Parson was supported by Kyle Lowry who, in addition to his nine assists, finally broke into double digits in scoring late when he captured an ill-advised Samuel Dalembert baseline jump shot and put it back to bring the margin back down to a single point going into the last minute of the game.
After that it was Martin's turn after Dalembert tipped high the rebound of another Durant miss and Lowry claimed it. After Martin got the ball from Lowry, he dribbled, used a couple of screens at the top before finally coming off a pick by Dalembert and getting bumped by Kendrick Perkins. Two free throws later and the Thunder would go through those multiple misses at their end by Durant and finally Westbrook's errant tip to seal the game.