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Rockets blast Blazers 118-113 in overtime

HOUSTON -- Houston's James Harden scored 41 points to lead the Rockets to a 118-113 overtime win over Portland on Sunday, moving up to third place overall in the NBA Western Conference, two games ahead of the Trail Blazers.

Their Texan rival Dallas also had an impressive victory, beating Eastern Conference leader Indiana and sending the Pacers to a worrying fourth-successive defeat.

Indiana's only succor is that nearest East rival Miami also keeps losing, dropping a third straight at Chicago, while Golden State beat Phoenix to open a three-game gap between the Pacific Division teams.

Houston's Jeremy Lin had 26 points, including four points in the 8-2 run that turned a three-point deficit in overtime into a three-point lead, and he then sank two free throws to complete the scoring.

Harden also hit a 3-pointer in that overtime run, having earlier hit a 3 with seconds left in regulation to send it to overtime.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 28 points and 12 rebounds, but managed just two points in OT.

Dallas led Indiana by 17 points in the first half and saw almost all that lead whittled away before steadying in the closing stages to win 105-94.

Monta Ellis and Devin Harris scored 20 points apiece. Ellis, who also had eight rebounds, put the game away in the final 2 minutes with a pair of jumpers for the Mavericks, who got 41 points from their bench players against just 4 from the Pacers' reserves.

The Pacers rallied from 17 points down in the first half and almost wiped out another double-digit deficit after halftime, but had the same offensive troubles late that plagued them early in the game.

Paul George had 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pacers.

Chicago beat Miami 95-88 after overtime, with Jimmy Butler stripping the ball from LeBron James at the end of regulation time to prevent the Heat winning.

Joakim Noah had 20 points and 12 rebounds while D.J. Augustin scored 22 for the Bulls, who scored 9 points in the first minute of overtime to take control.

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Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah #13 attempts to block a shot by Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade #3 during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Chicago on Sunday, March 9. (AP)

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