Tuesday night's NBA action featured the Oklahoma City Thunder in a "must win" situation as they battled the Houston Rockets in Game 5. Unfortunately, James Harden and the Rockets showed up to play once again, and Russell Westbrook's standout performance wasn't enough. With a six-point victory, the Rockets knocked the Thunder out of the postseason, several months before the NBA MVP Award will be handed out. Could this impact the MVP race going forward?

How Houston got the win

The Thunder took a first quarter lead 22-16, but Houston fought back to end up ahead 51-44 at the half. Despite OKC scoring at a 33-21 pace in the third quarter, Houston's 33-22 fourth finished things off for the Thunder.

It gave the Rockets another home court win and put the nail in the coffin for OKC's 2017 NBA Playoff run.

James Harden finished with 34 points on 8-for-25 shooting but was just 2-for-13 from three-point range. He hit 16-of-17 free throws, while also grabbing eight boards and dishing out four assists. Teammate Lou Williams came off the bench to add 22 points while Patrick Beverly had 15. Nene Hilario was the only other Rockets player in double digits. He finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

For the losing side, Russell Westbrook put on another brilliant performance and came up one assist shy of another triple-double. The NBA MVP candidate had 47 points on 15-for-34 shooting, to go with 11 rebounds and nine assists.

Jerami Grant came off the bench for 11 points, while Victor Oladipo and Taj Gibson each had 10 in the Oklahoma City loss.

In tonight's game, neither team shot particularly well as Houston was 40.2 percent from the floor and OKC was 38.5 percent. The Thunder also missed ten free throw opportunities, leaving valuable points at the charity stripe that could have given them a closer score towards the end.

What's up next?

With the win, the Houston Rockets are moving on to face the winner of the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs series. The Spurs captured a victory on Tuesday night to make it a 3-2 series lead with a chance to close things out in a few days.

For the Oklahoma City Thunder, it's back to the drawing board for next season.

The team defied expectations, sort of, with this push into the playoffs, propelled by Westbrook's fantastic campaign. He's competing for the NBA MVP Award with James Harden, although tonight's outcome may not factor into who wins that award. It will be handed out in June to either Westbrook, Harden, or another worthy player.

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