Houston, Texas — Kevin Durant scored 27 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder moved into the second round of the playoffs with a 103-94 win over the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.
Kevin Martin added 25 points for the top-seeded Thunder, who captured their Western Conference quarterfinal series in six games.
The Thunder will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals starting Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City.
The fifth-seeded Grizzlies finished off the Los Angeles Clippers in six games, winning at home Friday, 118-105.
Never before has a team rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series. The Rockets were halfway to accomplishing the task after winning two straight, but failed to hold a double-digit lead Friday night.
James Harden totaled 26 points, six rebounds and seven assists for Houston, which also received 25 points from Chandler Parsons. Omer Asik had 13 points and 13 rebounds, but the Rockets blew a 10-point third quarter lead.
“In that fourth quarter with about seven minutes left we were just stagnant. We couldn’t get any movement or make any shots,” Harden said.
The Thunder had a one-point lead going into the final quarter and clamped down defensively by holding the Rockets to 6-of-19 shooting over the final 12 minutes.
“Our turnovers hurt us and our lack of movement,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.
The Thunder scored 23 points off 16 Houston turnovers.
Oklahoma City managed to hold on to the win the series without a key cog in their offense. Russell Westbrook had surgery on his right knee to repair a torn lateral meniscus on April 27 and is out the remainder of the playoffs.
Reggie Jackson filled in nicely Friday with 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Indiana 81, Atlanta 73
Atlanta, Ga. — It wasn’t easy, but the Indiana Pacers finally earned a road win against the Atlanta Hawks. And it just happened to come in the series’ clincher.
George Hill and David West each poured in 21 points, with Roy Hibbert donating a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double for the Pacers, who will visit New York in the second round after the Knicks finished off the Boston Celtics later on Friday.
New York 88, Boston 80
Boston — After losing two straight times to the Boston Celtics, the New York Knicks avoided a monumental collapse in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal and ended a long drought of not winning a playoff series.
The Knicks nearly blew a 26-point fourth quarter lead, but held on for a 88-80 triumph Friday at TD Garden.
Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and hit a couple of key shots down the stretch for the Knicks, who also received 17 points from Iman Shumpert.
Memphis 118, LA Clippers 105
Memphis, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies earned some payback this postseason by sending the Los Angeles Clippers home early.
The Grizzlies used a balanced attack in a physical Game 6 to come away with their fourth straight victory in the Western Conference quarterfinals, a 118-105 decision thanks to seven double-digit scorers and their ability to get to the foul line.
Mike Conley and Zach Randolph each scored 23 points, while Tony Allen filled the stat sheet with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists for fifth-seeded Memphis, which will play the West’s top seed, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the next round after they finished off the Houston Rockets on Friday.
The Grizzlies, who lost as a No. 4 seed to Los Angeles in last year’s first round, became the 16th team in NBA history to rally from an 0-2 deficit and win a seven-game series and the 10th to finish it off in Game 6.
Chris Paul paced the fourth-seeded Clippers with 28 points and eight assists, but was ejected with 2:29 remaining in the game after receiving his second technical foul for throwing a cheap shot into Marc Gasol’s abdomen. Matt Barnes stepped up with Blake Griffin limited due to a high ankle sprain and put in 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting, but Los Angeles could not stop the suddenly-clicking Grizzlies.