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April 30, 2013

Houston avoids sweep with hot-handed shooting in Game 4

HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets escaped playoff elimination with a 105-103 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

Chandler Parsons scored 27 points and Patrick Beverley added 16 points with point guard Jeremy Lin out with a bruised chest muscle. Houston avoided a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series.

The Rockets led in the fourth quarter of each of the last two games only to end up losing. And it almost happened again Monday.

Kevin Durant scored five quick points to cut the Rockets’ lead to two. James Harden missed two shots for Houston after that and the Thunder had a last chance.

Reggie Jackson missed a jump shot and Serge Ibaka grabbed the rebound, but missed a layup at the buzzer.

A stunned Ibaka fell to the court after the miss and covered his face with his hands.

Durant scored 38 points in Oklahoma City’s second game without injured All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.

The victory kept Houston from being swept in the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Game 5 is Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

Harden scored 15 points, but also had 10 turnovers. He had two chances to extend Houston’s lead with less than a minute left, but missed both of them, including shooting an air ball.

He picked up his fifth foul with about seven minutes remaining, sending him to the bench. A dunk by Jackson seconds later cut Houston’s lead to 98-94.

Jackson got the Thunder within 100-98 with a 3-pointer a couple of minutes later. His 3-point attempt on the next trip down the floor rattled in and out of the basket.

Houston scored four quick points to extend the lead to 104-98 before Harden returned to the game with about three minutes left.

Derek Fisher made a 3-pointer to cut Houston’s lead to 104-101 with less than three minutes remaining. It was reviewed a few seconds later and the points were taken away because replays showed the shot clock had expired.

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