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James Harden of the Rockets blocks a shot by Oklahoma City’s Lu Dort to preserve his team’s lead in the closing seconds Wednesday night in Game 7 of a first-round series in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Houston won, 104-102. Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — James Harden made up for a miserable shooting night with a big blocked shot, Russell Westbrook scored 20 points against his former team and the Houston Rockets edged the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-102 on Wednesday night in Game 7 of their first-round series.

The Rockets pulled out a tense final game of the first round that lasted long past the final basket as replays and fouls were sorted out.

In the end, Houston prevailed to set up a second-round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers that begins Friday despite Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer, going 4 for 15 from the field.

The frantic final seconds of a game that was tight throughout had Houston take the lead for good at 103-102 when P.J. Tucker scored with 1:25 remaining. After changes of possession, the Thunder got the ball to Lu Dort, who attempted a 3-pointer that Harden blocked with 4.8 seconds left.

Robert Covington made a free throw with 1.4 seconds to go and Harden was whistled for fouling Danilo Gallinari before the ball was inbounded, giving the Thunder one free throw and the ball. But Gallinari missed the free throw and the Thunder turned it over on the last inbounds pass.

Covington had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Eric Gordon also scored 21 points for the Rockets. Harden finished with 17 points and nine assists.

Dort scored a career-best 30 points for the Thunder. Chris Paul, who was traded for Westbrook over the summer, had 19 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds.

HEAT 116, BUCKS 114: Jimmy Butler made two free throws with no time remaining as Miami, despite wasting a six-point lead in the final 27 seconds, took a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Butler rattled in the first free throw, then made the second for the final margin. He got fouled by Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo with about a tenth of a second left on a jump shot from the left corner.

Referees sent Butler to the line, with no one else on the lane, as some Heat teammates knelt at midcourt.

“In the judgment of the officials, the foul occurred, I guess, at some point when he landed,” Milwaukee Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “In the judgment of the officials, there was enough to warrant a foul.”

And just like that, the Heat became the first No. 5 seed in NBA history to take a 2-0 series lead over a No. 1 seed.

“I knew I was going to make one,” Butler said. “That’s all that we needed.”

Goran Dragic scored 23 points, Tyler Herro added 17 off the bench and Jae Crowder had 16 for Miami.

Bam Adebayo scored 15 points, Butler and Duncan Robinson each had 13 and Kelly Olynyk added 11 for Miami – which is 6-0 in this postseason.

Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks, who were down by six with 27 seconds left. Khris Middleton scored 23 points for Milwaukee, the last three of those coming when Dragic was called for fouling him with 4.3 seconds left.

Milwaukee got 16 apiece from Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe and 14 from George Hill.

Miami’s lead was 90-86 entering the fourth – but Milwaukee had the lead back on the very first possession of the final quarter.

Middleton was fouled on a 3-point try, made the first two free throws, and the rebound of the third was controlled by the Bucks. Kyle Korver made a 3-pointer to cap a five-point possession for Milwaukee, which had the lead again for the first time since 14-13.

The Heat were undeterred. They scored 13 of the next 15 points and led 103-93 on a 3-pointer by Crowder with 7:50 left.

Milwaukee shot 21 free throws in the first half to Miami’s 11, but oddly, it was the Bucks who had players in foul trouble.

Middleton got his third foul only 26 seconds into the second quarter and Antetokounmpo was whistled for his third with 4:17 left in the half. Both played for a bit more in the quarter, then were pulled with 1:07 left with the Bucks no longer willing to risk either of them getting a fourth so early.

Free throws were a big factor: Miami shot 55% in the first half and made nine 3s, but the lead was just 66-60 at intermission.

Antetokounmpo was called for his fourth early in the third, when Butler took a charge – or so it seemed. The call was overturned after review, so the reigning MVP had the fourth foul wiped away.

And the physicality only kept rising. Adebayo was knocked to the floor multiple times in the third quarter alone, one of them reviewed to see if it met flagrant status; it didn’t, but that review showed referees enough to hit Butler with a technical foul.

Late in the third, Kyle Korver closed out too aggressively on a 3-point try by Andre Iguodala, who landed on his foot and turned his right ankle. A Flagrant-1 was called, and Iguodala limped to the line to make two of three free throws, then limped away for evaluation.

 

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