Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) goes up for a shot as LA Clippers' Tobias Harris (34) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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The Houston Rockets continued to steam toward the NBA playoffs Thursday with a 101-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers while LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers' run of disappointment in Portland continued.Houston's Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden scored 24 points with seven assists and five rebounds, and his step-back jump shot to put the Rockets up by four points with 29.4 seconds left helped the Western Conference leaders put away the determined Clippers.Harden answered with his mid-range dagger over Rivers and the Rockets improved to 54-14 –two games ahead of the reigning champion Golden State Warriors atop the Western Conference.James delivered 35 points – including a monster dunk over Jusuf Nurkic in the early going – and 14 rebounds. He also missed a layup with 32 seconds left and the Cavs down by five.Simmons, 21, also joined Robertson and Johnson as only rookies to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists.
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