James Harden block, after tortuous ending, sends Rockets past Thunder in Game 7 (video)


Defensive stopper James Harden stifled scoring whiz Luguentz Dort in the biggest moment.

On a bizarro night, the Houston Rockets escaped with a 104-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7. Houston advances to face the Lakers in the second round – though not before plenty of late drama.

Harden shot 4-for-15, including 1-for-9 on 3-pointers. But the typically offensive-minded/defensive-indifferent guard made the big stop with five seconds left. Dort – who scored 30 points – had a clean-looking chance at the game-winning 3-pointer until Harden swooped in for the big block.

Oklahoma City fouled, and Robert Covington only split the ensuing pair of free throws. In the night’s second game with questionable late officiating, Houston was then called for a foul before Oklahoma City inbounded. That gave Danilo Gallinari a free throw, and the Thunder kept the ball. But Gallinari missed from the line, and Oklahoma City didn’t get off another shot.

So, P.J. Tucker‘s floater with 1:25 left stood as the game-winner.