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NBA playoff roundup: Rockets avoid knockout punch

The Rockets’ Chandler Parsons (team-high 27 points) was on the ball — as was Oklahoma City’s Kevin Martin.

DAVID J. PHILLIP/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Rockets’ Chandler Parsons (team-high 27 points) was on the ball — as was Oklahoma City’s Kevin Martin.

The Rockets escaped elimination with a 105-103 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night in Houston.

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.

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The Rockets had 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 5 quick points to cut the Rockets’ lead to 2. 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 he missed a layup at the buzzer.

A stunned Ibaka fell to the court after the miss.

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

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

Nets 110, Bulls 91 — Brook Lopez had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists, as host Brooklyn cut Chicago’s lead to 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.

Andray Blatche scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Gerald Wallace had consecutive baskets down the stretch as the Nets finally pulled away in a game they led most of the way.

Two days after rallying for a 142-134 triple-OT victory, the Bulls were outscored, 15-1, down the stretch and failed to set up a second-round series with Miami. Instead they will host Game 6 on Thursday.

Nate Robinson had 20 points and eight assists starting in place of point guard Kirk Hinrich, who bruised his left calf in Saturday’s game.

Robinson scored 29 of his 34 points after the third quarter Saturday in a game the Nets led by 14 late in regulation. Coming off his big game and agitating to opposing fans even when he’s struggling, Robinson was loudly booed during introductions, and each time he touched the ball.

He made a jumper with 4:17 remaining to cut Brooklyn’s lead to 95-90, but there would be no charge this time. Lopez converted a 3-point play, and after a free throw by Jimmy Butler, Wallace nailed a 3-pointer, then came up with a steal and dunk to give the Nets a 103-91 advantage with 2 minutes to go.

‘‘It was just a lot of mental mistakes,’’ Bulls center Joakim Noah said. ‘‘I feel like we had our chances. We beat ourselves. They played well. You've got to give credit when credit is due and now it’s on us to come back and be ready for Game 6.’’

‘‘For us, I knew it was going to be tough,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘At the same time, we've been here before playing with a guy short. It’s something we've got to do. We've just got to muster something and bring that energy and continue to play like we've been playing.’’

Only eight NBA teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit, but the Nets remained confident after Saturday’s collapse, feeling they had outplayed the Bulls for long stretches during the series. They have led by double digits in four of the five games.

‘‘We feel like we’re the better team,’’ Wallace said. ‘‘We've just got to play a 48-minute game completely and stay in attack mode.’’

Hawks 102, Pacers 91 — Josh Smith scored 29 points as host Atlanta built a 17-point lead at halftime, then withstood an Indiana comeback over the final two quarters to even the series in Game 4.

After struggling much of the second half, Smith made every big play down the stretch. He swished a rare 3-pointer, came up with an offensive rebound to set up a 3 by Kyle Korver, then finished off a fast break with a right-handed dunk.

Paul George scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half as the Pacers made a game of it but couldn’t come back from a 57-40 deficit at the break.

The series returns to Indianapolis for Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Korver added 19 points off the bench, most of them coming on his specialty: the 3-pointer. He knocked down five from outside the arc, including the biggest one with 2:33 remaining after Al Horford threw up a wild shot that missed. Smith snatched one of his 11 rebounds and spotted Korver lurking all alone on the outside.

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