James Harden leads Rockets to 110-100 win over Pacers with 44 points

Indiana's sinking playoff hopes took another big hit with loss to Houston

James Harden scored 19 of his 44 points in the fourth quarter and Josh Smith added 18 to help the Houston Rockets beat Indiana, 110-100, on Monday night in Indianapolis, handing the Pacers their sixth straight loss.

The Rockets (47-23) have won four of five.

Indiana's sinking playoff hopes took another big hit despite 23 points from C.J. Watson.

George Hill had 20 points for the Pacers (30-40).

It looked as though Houston would run away after jumping to an early double-digit lead and extending the margin to 41-20 early in the second quarter.

Indiana finally rallied in the third, using a 16-4 spurt to get as close as 68-66 in the final two minutes.

But the Rockets closed the quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 76-68 lead. They rebuilt a double-digit margin early in the fourth, and then Harden sealed the win by scoring 12 points in a four-minute flurry.

For Harden, it was another big night against Indiana's usually staunch defense. He nearly matched his 45-point effort in the first game of the season series by going 10 of 21 from the field and 21 for 22 from the free throw line with seven assists and four rebounds.

Boston 110, at Brooklyn 91: Evan Turner had 19 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Celtics ended a three-game losing streak that had dropped them out of playoff position. Avery Bradley scored 20 points to lead the Celtics, who entered a half-game behind Charlotte for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They had a chance to be right back in the final East spot if the Hornets lost in Chicago, which they did. Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk each had 18 points for Boston, which bounced back from a 105-97 overtime loss to Detroit at home on Sunday. Brook Lopez scored 31 points for the Nets, who had won two in a row to give themselves renewed playoff hopes.

Memphis 103, at New York 82: Zach Randolph scored 23 points, Marc Gasol had 21 and the Grizzlies clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Knicks. The Grizzlies (50-21) shot 52% from the field in their third consecutive win. Vince Carter added 14 points, Jeff Green scored 12 and Kosta Koufos had 10. New York (14-57) has dropped four in a row and 11 of 13. Langston Galloway scored 19 points, Andrea Bargnani had 18 and reserve Jason Smith finished with 16.

at Chicago 98, Charlotte 86: Nikola Mirotic scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, and the Bulls clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Hornets. Pau Gasol had 27 points and 12 rebounds as Chicago moved into a tie with Toronto for third place in the Eastern Conference. Jimmy Butler added 19 points in his return to the lineup after missing 11 games with a sprained left elbow. The Bulls played without center Joakim Noah, who was scratched because of general soreness, but managed to bounce back from an ugly 107-91 loss at Detroit on Saturday. Kemba Walker had 29 points and Mo Williams scored 15 for the Hornets, who were without Cody Zeller (right shoulder) and shot just 34.6% from the field. Charlotte has lost four of five to fall out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets are a half-game back of Boston.

Minnesota 106, at Utah 104 (OT): Rookie guard Zach LaVine scored 27 points, including two three-pointers, to force overtime, and the Timberwolves rallied past the Jazz. LaVine's clutch shots in the fourth quarter set up a 6-1 Minnesota run to start overtime that the Jazz couldn't overcome. The Timberwolves won for only the third time this month. The game featured some of the NBA's top young stars. No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and fellow rookie Sean Kilpatrick added 13 off the bench for Minnesota. Second-year center Rudy Gobert had 18 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks for the Jazz. Rookie forward Joe Ingles scored a career-high 18, and Derrick Favors added 19 points and 12 boards. Trey Burke shot four of 22 for Utah and missed a 32-footer at the buzzer that would have won the game.

at Golden State 107, Washington 76: Stephen Curry had 24 points, and the Warriors used a smothering defense in the third quarter to pound the Wizards. The Warriors held the Wizards without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes after halftime, with Washington missing its first 15 shots. Golden State outscored the Wizards 29-8 in the quarter to take a 24-point lead. Curry also had six assists and five rebounds as the NBA-leading Warriors (57-13) moved closer to securing the league's top playoff seed.

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