Parsons, Howard catapult Rockets past Trail Blazers


The last time the Houston Rockets scored more than 70 points in a first half they followed it with a franchise-low 19 points after halftime.

They had no such letdown Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Chandler Parsons scored a season-high 31 points and Dwight Howard added 24 to lead the Rockets to a 126-113 win over Portland that snapped the Trail Blazers’ five-game winning streak.

Houston scored a season-high total to win its second straight, building a big lead early and answering every time Portland made a run.

James Harden added 22 points and had five assists and Patrick Beverley returned from a broken hand to score 17 points. Parsons added 10 rebounds and seven assists while finishing one point shy of his career high.

Harden talked about the difference between Monday night and last week’s loss to Oklahoma City, when they set an NBA record for the largest scoring differential between two halves.

“We just held our composure,” Harden said. “We couldn’t worry about what they were doing or anything. We had to figure out a way to fight through it and play harder, push the tempo a little harder and play defense.”

LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 20 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have won seven of their last 11 games.

“We got close and we just couldn’t get over that hump,” Aldridge said. “Our shots didn’t fall for us and they made tough shots and were able to get the win.”

Houston was up by 18 points after a 3-pointer by Harden with about eight minutes left. Portland used a 9-2 run over the next two minutes to cut it to 115-104. The Rockets stayed in front to earn the win.

Bulls 102, Lakers 100 (OT)

In Chicago, Taj Gibson made a layup at the buzzer in overtime, lifting the Bulls to victory over Los Angeles.

With nine-tenths of a second left, Mike Dunleavy inbounded from underneath the basket and found Gibson cutting down the middle. The athletic forward then muscled toward the hoop for the winning basket, which was confirmed in a video review by the officials.

Joakim Noah had 17 points and 21 rebounds for Chicago (20-20), which has won eight of 10 to get back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 27. D.J. Augustin added a season-high 27 points.

Nick Young had 31 points for the Lakers, including a tying baseline jumper with 6 seconds left in overtime.

Hawks 121, Heat 114

In Atlanta, Paul Millsap scored 26 points and the Hawks overcame LeBron James’ 30 points to beat Miami.

DeMarre Carroll added 19 points and Pero Antic had 17 for the Hawks, who snapped a nine-game losing streak in their series with the Heat.

Chris Bosh had 21 points for Miami, which was without Dwyane Wade for the second straight game.

Nets 103, Knicks 80

In New York, Joe Johnson scored 25 points and Brooklyn sent the Knicks to a fourth straight loss, evening this season’s New York rivalry at a game apiece.

Making a triumphant return from London and completing a three-game, three-country road trip, the Nets improved to 7-1 in 2014 and avenged last month’s blowout loss.

New York’s Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and 12 boards.

Clippers 112, Pistons 103

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and 21 rebounds and Los Angeles breezed past Detroit.

Mavericks 102, Cavaliers 97

In Cleveland, Monta Ellis scored 22 points, Shawn Marion added 18 and Dallas held off the Cavs’ late rally.

Pelicans 95, Grizzlies 92

In Memphis, Anthony Davis scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half and grabbed 10 rebounds to help New Orleans beat the Grizzlies and snap an eight-game losing streak.

Zach Randolph had 23 points and 20 rebounds for Memphis.

Wizards 107, 76ers 99

In Washington, Bradley Beal had 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to lead the Wizards past Philadelphia.

Bobcats 100, Raptors 95

In Charlotte, Al Jefferson had 22 points and 19 rebounds and the Bobcats held on to beat Toronto for the seventh straight time at home.

Pacers 102, Warriors 94

In Oakland, Paul George scored 23 points, Roy Hibbert had 14 points and 13 rebounds and NBA-leading Indiana built a big lead before holding off Golden State for its fifth straight win.

The Pacers (33-7) went ahead by 20 in third quarter, watched the Warriors whittle the lead to two and then regrouped in the closing minutes to open a five-game West Coast trip with a victory.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry had 24 points and nine assists, and David Lee had 20 points and 12 rebounds.