OKLAHOMA CITY — The Thunder wanted to extinguish all hope. Despite holding a two-game lead, they wanted to send the Rockets packing as quickly as possible.
Houston had different plans. The eighth-seeded in the West defeated Oklahoma City 107-100 Wednesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, but all the momentum now resides with the Rockets, who have won two in a row. Game 6 is Friday in Houston.
"I want to play tomorrow," Houston's Francisco Garcia said. "We are ready to play. Ready to play them Friday. Everybody is hyped right now. We want to go back home and get this thing going."
Trailing by 16 in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City started to foul Omer Asik intentionally to send him to the free-throw line. The strategy worked for a period as the Thunder got to within six.
However, once Oklahoma City stopped making baskets, Asik began to knock down his free throws, and he gave Houston a 104-94 lead with 2:15 left in the game.
After the Rockets got a defensive stop, Chandler Parsons drained a 3-pointer to put the Thunder away.
"We had the lead and they just fouled me," Asik said. "I just tried to knock down the free throws. I missed some. But I made some. I'm happy we won the game. I just didn't think too much. Because we had the lead, I was relaxed. I just shot the ball."
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said they may stayed with the fouling strategy too long. But since his defense was unable to get stops, it was the only option left to them.
"Give them credit, they came out and played lights out," Brooks said. "They shot the ball so well. Some were contested. Some were not contested. We didn't matchup in transition. But we have to do a better job. We gave up two 30 point plus quarters."