HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets are heading to the playoffs for the second straight year and believe wins like the one they picked up Friday will help them when they get there.
James Harden scored 39 points and the Rockets ended a three-game skid and clinched a playoff berth with a 111-107 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 40th straight game with at least 25 points, the longest streak since Michael Jordan also did it 40 consecutive times in 1986-87. But Durant was in no mood to talk about matching the feat after the game.
“We lost the game, that’s all I’m worried about,” he said. “I don’t care. We lost.”
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The normally mild-mannered Durant, who leads the NBA with 32.1 points a game, talked a little trash afterward when asked if he was frustrated by the physical defense Houston’s Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia played on him.
“Those dudes can’t check me one-on-one,” he said. “They know that. I ain’t afraid to say it either. They know that. So I was playing the double-teams, triple-teams, but you still got to find a way to do it. They’re physical just like everybody else and I’ve been playing against physical players my whole life, so it’s nothing different.”
The Thunder, which had already secured a playoff berth, clinched its fourth consecutive Northwest Division title with a loss by Portland.
Durant’s three-pointer cut Houston’s lead to one with 1:01 left, but Houston answered with four straight free throws. Durant made another three with 16 seconds left, but Harden made two free throws to push the lead to 111-107.
PORTLAND — Reserve forward Gerald Green scored 18 of his 32 points in the second half and the Phoenix Suns rallied for a 109-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Eric Bledsoe finished with 30 points and Goran Dragic added 19 for the Suns (45-31), who denied the Blazers (49-28) a chance to clinch a Western playoff berth while beating Portland for the third time in four games.
• Corey Brewer hit one of two free throws with 1.8 seconds left in the second overtime as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the host Miami Heat 122-121.
LeBron James scored 34 points for the Heat, which blew a chance to move two games clear of Indiana in the loss column atop the Eastern Conference standings.
• Former Cougar Klay Thompson scored 21 points, Stephen Curry had 13 points and five assists and the host Golden State Warriors routed the Sacramento Kings 102-69. The Warriors (47-29) matched last season’s win total and moved within 1½ games of fifth-place Portland in the West.
• Former Husky Spencer Hawes had 16 points and 10 rebounds, but Cleveland lost 117-98 at Atlanta in a costly setback for the Cavaliers’ late-season playoff push.
• Former Husky Terrence Ross scored 24 points to lead the host Toronto Raptors over the Indiana Pacers 102-94.
• Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders will be suspended for five games when he returns from injury for violating the NBA’s drug policy. Sanders said he was penalized for using marijuana. He is out for the season with a fractured right orbital bone.
• Minnesota forward Dante Cunningham was charged with assault after being accused of choking his girlfriend during an argument. He remained in jail with bail set at $40,000.