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Playoffs 2020

NBA Playoffs 2020: Oklahoma City Thunder's three-guard lineup fuels overtime win over Houston Rockets

The Oklahoma City Thunder have found new life as they earned a thrilling overtime win over the Houston Rockets to avoid falling into a 0-3 series hole.

Dennis Schröder led the way for the Thunder with 29 points while Chris Paul (26 points), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (23 points) and Danilo Gallinari (20 points) also did plenty of heavy lifting on the offensive end.

Houston was led by 38 points from James Harden, who fouled out in overtime after a wild end to the game.

For more on how it all went down, here are some takeaways from the game.

1. A frenetic finish

If you missed it, things got wild down the stretch in this one.

With OKC down one late, Chris Paul was called for an away-from-the play foul on James Harden, who put Houston up by two. The ensuing possession didn't happen, as the Thunder forced a turnover on the inbounds with 24 seconds left.

Next? Shai Gilgeous-Alexander connected on a 3. OKC up one with under 10.

Danuel House would get tripped on the next possession and split the pair of free throws. Tie ball game.

At the end of regulation, Chris Paul had a great look for a reverse layup but failed to convert… OT.

2. There's no quit in OKC

After Game 2 got away from them, the Oklahoma City Thunder entered Game 3 with their backs against the wall.

Things didn't look good early, as OKC found itself down 12 with three minutes remaining in the opening frame. The Thunder would climb back, cutting the deficit to six by the end of the first. They would get their first lead four minutes into the fourth and things were back-and-forth for the remainder of the game.

Even after a wild ending to regulation, the Thunder remained even-keeled, putting on a dominant overtime performance to pull away. If you thought this team would just roll over and get eliminated, you thought wrong.

3. OK-Three

There's a reason why Oklahoma City's three-guard lineup is one of the best in the NBA.

Chris Paul (26 points), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (23 points) and Dennis Schröder (29 points) each stepped up in a major way in Game 3, making big plays throughout the night to score 78 of the Thunder's 119 points.

Schröder made big momentum-shifting plays throughout the second half as did Gilgeous-Alexander, who knocked down that big triple late to put OKC up one. CP3 atoned for his Game 2 performance, scoring six of the Thunder's 15 points in OT.

And I'd be remiss if I mentioned OKC's guards without giving a shout to rookie Luguentz Dort, who again proved to have the tools to make things difficult for James Harden.

4. Another night at the office for Harden

As good of a job as Dort has done, Harden still finds ways to get things done. It shouldn't be a surprise that the back-to-back-to-back scoring champ was again the leading scorer in this one.

Per usual, Harden came out firing early, scoring 24 points (on 9-for-18 shooting) in the first half alone. In the second half, Harden got the 3-ball going a bit more, adding another 14 points to finish with 38 points (on 12-for-27 shooting) on the night before fouling out in overtime

For the series, Harden is now averaging 32.0 points although he's shooting just 29.7% from beyond the arc.

5. Green does it again

Jeff Green has been an incredible addition for the Rockets.

After scoring 22 points in Game 1 and 15 points in Game 2, Green made his mark in Game 3, scoring another 22 points off the bench on 8-for-13 shooting. With Austin Rivers and Ben McLemore shooting a combined 2-for-9, Green single-handedly carried Houston's bench production, which it couldn't have done without.

6. Life without Russ

Russell Westbrook has now missed the Rockets' last five games with a strained quadriceps muscle. Prior to Game 3, Mike D'Antoni told reporters that Westbrook has been ramping up physical activity by running on the alter-G treadmill, per Jonathan Feigen.

While it sounds like Westbrook is a ways away from returning to action, winning the first two games of the series provided a cushion and decreased the sense of urgency to get him back in the lineup. The Rockets don't need to panic just yet, as they've proven they can win without Westbrook.

Looking at the big picture, they need their All-Star point guard as close to 100% as possible to make a deep run.

7. What's next?

These two teams are back at it in less than 48 hours as Game 4 takes place at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 24.

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