francisco garcia

The youthful Rockets may be on the verge of playoff elimination, but it’s not for lack of effort by their oldest players on the court.

Francisco Garcia, 32, and Carlos Delfino, 30, had 18 and 11 points, respectively, to spark a second-half Rockets rally that fell short by the margin of Kevin Durant’s seeing-eye 3-pointer, the critical blow of Oklahoma City’s Game 3 victory Saturday night.

With Jeremy Lin rendered ineffective by his bruised chest, Rockets coach Kevin McHale’s frequently tweaked rotation came down in the second half to heavy doses of Garcia, who played 32 minutes, and Delfino, who nursed his aching elbow through 22:07.

Each did enough, absent Durant’s final 3-pointer plus the 38 points that preceded it, to get the Rockets back in the game and avoid a 3-0 deficit that in NBA history is tantamount to playoff elimination.

“We played so hard in the second half,” Garcia said. “I’m proud of my guys.”

– Reported by David Barron of the Houston Chronicle