Rockets win 112-86, Pacers now in tie for lead
AP Sunday, March 9, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
HOUSTON -- James Harden had 28 points and Houston used a huge third quarter to turn a close game into a blowout against Indiana.
Harden scored 16 in Houston's 38-point third quarter, which turned a three-point lead into a 29-point advantage. He also got into a dustup with Evan Turner that resulted in both players receiving technical fouls.
Harden and Dwight Howard went to the bench for the fourth period and watched their teammates wrap up Houston's fourth consecutive win.
David West had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers, losers of three straight for the first time this season.
Howard finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin added 11 points apiece for the Rockets.
Celtics 91, Nets 84 Rajon Rondo scored 20 points and the Boston Celtics dominated the boards to beat Brooklyn and stop the Nets' four-game winning streak Friday night.
Boston scored the first five points and never trailed, although Brooklyn used an 11-point run to cut the lead to 70-68 with 2:02 left in the third quarter. But the Celtics came back to take a 78-70 lead entering the final quarter and led by at least seven the rest of the way.
The Celtics outrebounded the Nets 62-37, an important advantage because they turned the ball over 28 times, twice as many as Brooklyn. Rondo also had nine assists and seven rebounds.
The Nets were led by Joe Johnson with 21 points and Deron Williams with 20 as they fell back to .500 two days after going over the mark for the first time this season.
Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly gay player, did not play for the Nets for the first time in seven games since signing a 10-day contract Feb. 23.
Mavericks 103, Trail Blazers 98 Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points, Devin Harris hit the go-ahead shot in the final minute and Dallas rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Portland after blowing a 30-point lead.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 30 points for the Trail Blazers, including 18 in the third quarter when they went in front for the first time at 69-67 after trailing 44-14 early in the second.
The Mavericks snapped their season-high, three-game skid but nearly tied the franchise record for their biggest blown lead.
Aldridge also grabbed 17 rebounds and Wesley Matthews had 26 points for Portland.
Bobcats 101, Cavaliers 92 Al Jefferson scored 28 points, Kemba Walker had 20 points and 14 assists, and Charlotte defeated Cleveland for its sixth straight win at home.
Jefferson shot 12 of 18 from the field and reached 20 points for the 22nd time in his last 24 games. Chris Douglas-Roberts added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and a season-high nine rebounds for Charlotte (29-33), which surpassed its win total from the previous two seasons combined.
The Bobcats, seventh in the Eastern Conference, improved to 3-0 this season against the Cavaliers and now own the tiebreaker against both Detroit and Cleveland, the ninth- and 10th-place teams in the East.
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