Rockets defeat Blazers 116-98

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Associated Press

Posted on April 6, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 6 at 1:04 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — James Harden had 33 points and the short-handed Houston Rockets edged closer to clinching a playoff spot with a 116-98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

Jeremy Lin added 22 points to help the Rockets to their fourth straight victory. Houston (43-33) remained in seventh place in the Western Conference — three games in front of the Los Angeles Lakers — for their first playoff appearance since 2008-09.

LaMarcus Aldridge returned from an ankle injury with 32 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers (33-43), who matched their season-worst slide with a seventh straight loss.

The Rockets were without forward Chandler Parsons because of a right calf injury he sustained late in Houston's 112-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

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