HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – The Rockets are two wins away from becoming the first team in NBA history to clinch a seven-game series after starting 0-3.  After winning two in a row against Oklahoma City, the Rockets kept their playoff hopes alive and forced a Game 6 at home. As the Houston prepares for Friday night’s match-up at Toyota Center, team confidence and momentum are at an all-time high. When did the balance of power shift between the first-seed Thunder and eighth-seed Rockets? For Harden the change happened before the Rockets’ 105-103 victory in Game 4 at home.

“The last game at home, when we got a win. We just came out (to Oklahoma City) and played pressure-free. That was our mindset going into the game. “Harden said after Wednesday night’s 107-100 win. “Same thing back at home, just go out there and hoop. We are an eight-seed. Nobody was expecting us to win. Just give it what we got. Simple.”

Harden, who was diagnosed with strep throat Thursday, was the picture of good health on the floor in Game 5, playing 42 minutes and scoring 31 pionts, 8 rebounds, and shooting 7-9 from 3-point range.

For Beverley, losing 102-105 in a close-fought Game 2, gave the team the confidence that they could compete and ultimately pull out a win against the Thunder.

“To add to that, I’d say it kind of changed after Game 2 when we were in a game here in the fourth quarter and we had the lead. We lost but we took from that that we can really play with them and that rolled over into the third game. We came up short there but we got the win in the fourth game so there was definitely some confidence building from Game 2.”

The Rockets hope to extend the series Friday night with a win but need to continue to do what has made them successful against the Thunder. Coach McHale is happy to be returning to a home crowd.

“We gotta go play friday night. The Center will be happening, it will be rocking. it will be fun to play. We gotta come out again and execute, do what we do and try to attack the rim as much as we can. Make them collapse, throw out, knock down some threes, and just play our style of basketball.”

The Rockets looked comfortable in Game 5 and Harden feels that a constant, high-shooting style of play is what the Rockets’ game plan needs to be.

“We have to move the ball. We have to be in attack mode and be ready to shoot for 48 minutes. We can’t have spurts where we are stagnant because that’s when they go on their runs. (Wednesday night) we put a 48-minute game together,” Harden said.

Coach Kevin McHale believes the team’s success comes from their mental toughness. “I’ve said it all year long. The beauty of this group of kids/young men are they fight. We’ve had bad games this year but we’ve turned around and had good games behind it.  They guys are battlers and that’s, for me, a huge part of this league. “

If the Rockets win Game 6, they will be only the fourth team in NBA playoffs to force a Game 7 after an 0-3 start. With all the pressure on the Thunder, the Rockets hope to add their third-straight victory Friday night to make history. Game 6 between the Rockets and Thunder tips off at 8:30 CT in the Toyota Center.

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Washington state's mental health services agency to pay a $185,500 fine for failing to provide timely competency services to hundreds of mentally ill defendants.

The fine follows a contempt order that U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman issued on July 7 against the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services. Pechman said the state has not complied with her 2015 permanent injunction that required the state to conduct competency evaluations within seven days of a judge's order. She also set a one-week deadline for providing treatment to restore a defendant's competency. Since the state has not complied, Pechman ordered sanctions of $500 for each person waiting more than a week but less than two for competency services and $1,000 per day for each person on a waitlist for more than 14 days. Between July 8 and 14, the fines accrued to $185,500, the order said. Kathy Spears, a spokeswoman for the department, said Wednesday they were "discussing our options" for responding to the fines and contempt order. Just after Pechman issued the order in early July, Carla Reyes, assistant secretary for the Behavioral Health Administration, said they were disappointed with the judge's conclusions that state had not made progress since the injunction. "In fact, we've had significant success in reducing the time it takes to provide competency services for class members," Reyes said in a statement. Since April 2015, the wait times for inpatient evaluations dropped from 91.8 to 12.5 days at Eastern State Hospital and from 25.5 to 18.9 days at Western State Hospital, Reyes said. Wait times for inpatient restoration services went from 90.8 days to 29 days at Eastern, and from 39 days to 29 days at Western, she said. "We were able to achieve these outcomes by collaborating with our partners, the judicial and criminal justice systems and by taking multiple aggressive and creative steps," Reyes said. But the state's own report filed with the court on July 15 reveals that hundreds of mentally ill people are still waiting for competency services. Pechman's contempt order required the state to provide weekly tallies of the wait times at both hospitals so the fines could be calculated. Thomas Kinlen, the director of the office of Forensic Mental Health Services, filed a breakdown of cases. It showed that 219 mentally ill people were waiting for competency services as of July 14. Eleven were at Eastern and 208 at Western, his report said. Sixty-seven defendants had waited between one and two weeks for services. Calculating those cases at $500 per day, the fine came to $33,500, the report said. The total number of defendants waiting for more than 14 days was 152, the report said. The fine for those defendants was $1,000 per day, for a total of $152,000. Pechman ordered the state to send the fine payment to the Registry of the Court, where it will be held and used at a later date to benefit the mentally ill defendants. Separately, state judges who originally ordered the defendants to receive competency evaluations or treatment have held the state in contempt and issued fines that reached about $1.5 million by early July. According to Pechman, the state has only paid $132,000 of those fines. ___ Follow Martha Bellisle at https://twitter.com/marthabellisle


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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