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Rockets stave off Thunder upset; Advance to play Lakers

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The Houston Rockets move on to round two.

NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets topple the Oklahoma City Thunder in a slobber-knocker 104-102 Game 7 finish.

Two very unpredictable things happened in Game 7 of this Rockets-Thunder series. The first being that Luguentz Dort would go off for 30 points, going 6-12 from deep. Dort, in classic Houston opponent form, now has the NBA record for most points scored in a playoff Game 7 by somebody 21 years or younger.

The other very unpredictable thing would be that James Harden would have a series-saving block on a three-point shot against the hot-handed Dort in the closing seconds of the game.

Yet, both are very true.

This was a tough game for Houston to pull out, especially at the very end. Foul calls, time stoppages, time outs, and reviews made the final four minutes of the match much, much, much longer than it should have been — even to the point of making it difficult for some to find the energy to recap the game (wink wink).

Harden struggled offensively this game, going only 4-15 from the field, dropping in 17 points to go along with his three rebounds and nine assists. Houston’s other three options, on the other hand, stepped up big-time in the wake of his tough night. Eric Gordon came through with 21 points on a much-needed 6-11 from the field, 5-9 from three. Russell Westbrook did a tremendous job of taking over when the team needed him to, logging 20 points on 45% from the field and snagging nine rebounds and two steals.

The absolute biggest save of the night goes to Robert Covington who went an astounding 6-11 from deep (21 points), grabbed 10 rebounds, and had three blocks and three steals. Covington really showed his true value to this Rockets team and played exactly how Houston wanted to when they brought him in.

Houston had three 20-point scorers on the night.

On the other side, Chris Paul became the oldest player to have a triple-double in a playoff game with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 19 points. Dennis Schroder had 12 points on 5-17 shooting to go along with six rebounds and five assists.

There is much admiration to be had for this Oklahoma City Thunder taking this series down to the literal last seconds of a Game 7. It was a much more hard-fought and pestering matchup than I thought it would be. That is all the nice things I can muster up about the former opponent because I am tired of talking about this team, and this will literally be my last mention of them until next season.

The Houston Rockets now advance to play the Los Angeles Lakers this Friday.