National Basketball Association
Oklahoma City at Houston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
The Houston Rockets are on the verge of advancing to the second round of the playoffs and will attempt to close out the series on Tuesday when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5. As Thunder star Russell Westbrook tries to shut down questions about his supporting cast, Houston received a mammoth performance in Game 4 from long-forgotten Nene to take the 3-1 series lead.
The 34-year-old Nene scored 28 points on 12-of-12 shooting as the Rockets prevailed 113-109 on Sunday on a day in which star guard James Harden didn't have much in the tank while scoring 16 points on 5-of-16 shooting. "That's what a team is for," Harden told reporters. "It's not just one guy. I've believed in trusting these guys all year long. We say it every game that it's not going to be just one or two guys that win this game. On different nights, it's going to be different guys that step up." Not enough Oklahoma City players are stepping up to help Westbrook as the Rockets repeatedly take advantage when he comes out for rest. Westbrook has recorded three consecutive triple-doubles and is averaging 35 points, 11.8 rebounds and 11.3 assists but the Thunder are on the verge of being sent home.
8 p.m. ET, TNTABOUT THE THUNDER:
Westbrook's testy nature went up several octaves after Game 4, when a reporter asked center Steven Adams about the fact that Oklahoma City was outscored by 18 points during the nine minutes Westbrook was rested. "I don't want nobody to try and split us up," Westbrook interjected. "We all one team. Regardless if I go to the bench, or Steven's on the floor, or if I'm off the floor, we in this together. Don't split us up. Don't try to make us go against each other -- try to make it Russell and the rest of the guys, or Russell against Houston. I don't want to hear that." The supporting cast includes subpar series performances from shooting guard Victor Oladipo (11-point average on 38.6 percent shooting), Adams (8.3 points, 6.3 rebounds) and backup center Enes Kanter (six points, 2.3 rebounds).ABOUT THE ROCKETS:
Nene is an astounding 23-of-25 from the field in the series, and his 12-for-12 outing in Game 4 matched the NBA postseason record for most field goals without a miss set by Kansas City-Omaha Kings forward Larry McNeill in 1975. The veteran with 620 regular-season starts to his credit, and who survived a bout with testicular cancer in 2008, is content with his role, which includes providing important leadership for Harden. "He is my mentor, believe it or not," Harden told reporters. "I watch him every single day do some work. He's in the weight room. He's doing a lot of the right things to get his body and mind right to go out there to compete at a high level every single night."BUZZER BEATERS
1. Harden is averaging 33 points, 7.8 assists and six rebounds in the series.
2. Houston backup SG Lou Williams is averaging 20.3 points with a low of 18 over the past three contests.
3. Oklahoma City SF Andre Roberson was an embarrassing 2-of-12 from the free-throw line in Game 4 and is 2-for-17 in the series.PREDICTION:
Rockets 115, Thunder 96
Stats and Records