Drexler leads Rockets to play-off victory

Basketball

The Houston Rockets won another elimination game and for the first time in six series finally beat the Seattle SuperSonics in a play-off.

Houston improved to 11-2 in play-off elimination games under the coach, Rudy Tomjanovich, with a 96-91 victory in game seven of their Western Conference semi-finals.

The Rockets, who were led by Clyde Drexler's 24 points, including two free throws in the final 20 seconds, will open the conference finals against Utah tonight in Salt Lake City.

The Rockets, slammed in the opening minutes of their two previous losses, charged right at the SuperSonics and chiseled out a 55-50 half-time lead that was hard-fought all the way. Houston finally got a little breathing space in the third quarter but not much.

The SuperSonics scored the first six points of the third quarter to regain the lead at 56-55 but it was short-lived as the Rockets scored seven straight points on baskets by Barkley, Drexler and Olajuwon and a free throw by Drexler to open the biggest lead of the game, 62-56 with 7:58 left in the third quarter.

The Sonics didn't score over the final 3:02 of the third quarter and the Rockets took a 74-67 lead into the fourth quarter.

Houston once again had first-quarter problems hitting their layups and they were outrebounded 13-5 in the first period. Still, they at least did not fall behind 16-2 and 15-5 as they did to start their previous two games.

The Rockets led 88-74 with 3:58 to play as the Sonics missed 12 straight shots and went 6:14 without a field goal. The Sonics' only points during that span that started with 3:02 to play in the third quarter, was a free throw by Shawn Kemp with 9:11 left in the game.

The Sonics, the defending Western Conference champions and the team that beat the two-time defending NBA champion Rockets in this same round last season, were not ready yet to concede victory. Hersey Hawkins had half the points as the Sonics went on a 12-1 run that cut Houston's lead to 89-86 with 1:32 to play.

Matt Maloney hit a three-pointer - his only points of the second half - with 1:17 to play to give the Rockets a six-point lead. Two free throws by Gary Payton and a basket by Detlef Schrempf with 21 seconds to play had Seattle within 92-90.

Drexler made one free throw with 20 seconds to go and another with 17 seconds left and Hakeem Olajuwon dunked the final basket with 1.4 sec to play.

After Schrempf's basket cut Houston's lead to 92-90, Terry Cummings missed the first of two free throws and Kemp missed a desperate, off-balanced shot as time ticked down and Schrempf then lost it out of bounds.

Payton led the Sonics with 27 points and played 46 minutes and Kemp finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Olajuwon scored 22 points for Houston and had 13 rebounds, while Barkley finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas