NBA: Rockets oust Westbrook's Thunder from NBA playoffs

James Harden scored 34 points as the Houston Rockets withstood a furious effort from Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook to oust the Thunder from the NBA playoffs on Tuesday.

The Rockets beat the Thunder 105-99 to win their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series four games to one.

Rockets reserve Lou Williams scored 10 of his 22 points early in the fourth quarter as the Rockets responded to a sensational third quarter from Westbrook, who carried his team to a 77-72 lead going into the final period.

Westbrook scored 10 straight points in one stretch and finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three assists in the third.

But Williams opened the fourth with two free throws and added three more from the line along with a three-pointer as the Rockets regained the advantage with Westbrook on the bench - and they held on even after Westbrook re-entered the game as the Thunder missed a string of shots.

Westbrook finished with 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, but connected on just two of his 11 shots in the final period.

No other Thunder player scored more than 11 points, while Harden had scoring support not only from Williams but also from the 15 points from guard Patrick Beverly and 14 from Brazilian reserve Nene.

In the second round the Rockets will face either the San Antonio Spurs or Memphis Grizzlies.

- Spurs ahead in series -

The Spurs, seeded second in the West behind the Golden State Warriors, seized a 3-2 lead in their series Tuesday with a 116-103 victory in San Antonio.

Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points, Patty Mills added 20 and Tony Parker chipped in 16 as the Spurs bounced back from a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Grizzlies in game four.

Reserve point guard Mills made five three-pointers, four of them in the fourth quarter en route to his career-high playoff scoring total.

The effort from Australia's Mills helped thwart a Grizzlies rally. Memphis trailed by 18 with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter, but a 17-3 scoring run saw them pull within four points with nine minutes to play.

Mills then came off the bench to make his four three-pointers, spoiling an outstanding performance by Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, who scored 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter.

"We made shots, that's what we didn't do the last game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We took care of the basketball, only had six or seven turnovers. The best part is we didn't give up 20-something fastbreak points."

The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers were also tied at 2-2 going into game five of their series in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The winners of that series next face the Warriors, who swept the Portland Trail Blazers in four games.