Rockets ousts T-wolves, LeBron dominates
LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse
James Harden scored 24 points as the Houston Rockets booked their spot in the second round of the NBA playoffs by crushing the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-104 in game five on April 25.
Clint Capela scored a team-high 26 points and had 15 rebounds for the top seeded Rockets who pulled away in the third quarter to win their series four games to one.
Elsewhere, LeBron James capped another milestone night with a buzzer-beating three-pointer that lifted the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 98-95 win over Indiana and within one win of advancing in the playoffs.
Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook scored 45 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder came back from 25 points down in the second half to fight off elimination and beat the Utah Jazz 107-99.
Houston will now play the winner of the Utah-Oklahoma City series, which the Jazz now lead 3-2.
The Rockets are off to the second round for the second year in a row after eliminating the eighth-seeded Timberwolves.
After scoring 22 points in Houston’s 50-point third quarter in a game four rout on Monday, Harden tallied half of Houston’s 30 points in the third quarter on Wednesday to give Houston the lead for good.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 20 points off the bench.
In Toronto, the Eastern Conference top seeds Raptors moved within one victory of advancing, taking a 3-2 series lead over the Washington Wizards with a 108-98 home win.
DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, Kyle Lowry added 17 as the Raptors bounced back from defeats in games three and four.
Delon Wright scored 16 off the bench for Toronto, producing nine of their last 14 points of the game.