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NBA roundup: Harden cameo leads Rockets to win over Raptors

Houston's James Harden scored 16 points in a big third quarter which set up the Rockets' 98-76 win over Toronto on Saturday.

The victory edged the Rockets closer to the Southwest Division lead, closing within three games of idle Memphis.

 NBA roundup: Harden cameo leads Rockets to win over Raptors

Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas (17) and Houston Rockets' Joey Dorsey, right, go after a loose ball in the second half of an NBA game. AP

Elsewhere, Chicago notched its fifth win in six games by defeating Phoenix to open some breathing room at the top of the Central, and the Los Angeles Clippers cruised past Sacramento.

Houston's Harden had a hot-and-cold game. Outside of his big third quarter he only scored four points, yet he was crucial in the surge which turned the contest, scoring seven of Houston's 12 points as they went from a four-point lead to a 15-point advantage.

Corey Brewer was more consistent and scored a season-high 26 points for the hosts.

The Raptors were aiming for a franchise-record sixth straight road win, but were undone by 23 turnovers. James Johnson led Toronto with 27 points.

Chicago's Pau Gasol had 22 points and 14 rebounds as the Bulls beat Phoenix 112-107.

Jimmy Butler added 19 points for Chicago, who had five players in double figures and increased its division lead over Cleveland to one game.

P.J. Tucker's 20 points was the high for the Suns, who have lost seven of eight.

The Clippers routed Sacramento 126-99, with J.J. Redick scoring 24 points as he hit four 3-pointers and all eight of his free throws.

Austin Rivers had a career-high 28 points for Los Angeles, which has won four of five games in the absence of injured All-Star Blake Griffin.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 21 points for the Kings.

Oklahoma City won its fifth straight, beating Charlotte 110-103, with Russell Westbrook contributing 33 points and 10 assists.

New Orleans' Eric Gordon scored 16 of his 24 points in the third quarter and the Pelicans won 105-91 at Miami, even after losing Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson to injuries.

AP

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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2015 15:08:07 IST

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