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No Westbrook, No problem: Durant scores 41 points to lead Thunder over Rockets 104-101

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    Houston Rockets' Francisco Garcia (32) goes up for a shot as Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka (9) defends during the second quarter of Game 3 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)The Associated Press

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    Houston Rockets' Patrick Beverley (12) falls backward while blocking Oklahoma City Thunder's Nick Collison (4) during the first quarter of Game 3 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Houston. Beverley was called for a blocking foul. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)The Associated Press

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    Oklahoma City Thunder's Nick Collison (4) goes up for a shot as Houston Rockets' Omer Asik (3), Francisco Garcia (32) and Jeremy Lin (7) defend during the second quarter of Game 3 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)The Associated Press

Kevin Durant scored 41 points in his first game without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder fought off Houston's late rally to beat the Rockets 104-101 on Saturday night for a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.

Durant scored 27 points in the first half, and the Thunder led by 26 points before a big third-quarter rally by the Rockets put them within striking distance.

Houston regained the lead with about 4 minutes left, and was up with less than a minute remaining. But Durant hit a 3-pointer seconds later to put Oklahoma City on top 100-99.

A turnover by James Harden gave the Thunder the ball back and Derek Fisher made two free throws to push the lead to 3. Harden made a layup, but Reggie Jackson hit two more free throws after that.

Houston had a last chance, but Carlos Delfino's 3-pointer fell short.

Harden scored 30 points to lead the Rockets in the first playoff game in Houston since 2009.