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James Harden Drops 42 as Rockets End Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers' Win Streak

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2018

Houston Rockets guard James Harden reacts after making a play during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. The Rockets won 115-111. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Steve Dykes/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets snapped the Portland Trail Blazers' 13-game winning streak with a 115-111 victory at Moda Center on Tuesday night.

James Harden led the way with 42 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and he drilled a pair of step-back threes in the game's waning minutes to put Portland on the ropes.

"He's unique. That's the best offensive player I've ever seen," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. "He has so many weapons and now he's shooting those step-back threes. It's impossible to guard him. It's impossible."

Chris Paul added 22 points, eight boards and six dimes. However, his biggest contribution may actually have been a missed shot.

With Houston up two and less than five seconds remaining in regulation, Paul lofted up a floater that rattled off the back iron and deflected back out to the free-throw line. The Rockets' floor general safely collected the offensive rebound, the Blazers were forced to foul with 1.3 seconds left and he swished a couple of free throws to seal the deal.

Now winners of six straight, the Rockets are 57-14 overall and four games clear of the second-place Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference standings. Their magic number to clinch the No. 1 overall seed sits at seven with 11 games remaining.

They'll be back in action Thursday at home against the Detroit Pistons.

The Blazers (44-27), meanwhile, are holding steady in the No. 3 seed two games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Portland will attempt to strengthen its grip on home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs Friday when the Boston Celtics come to town.

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