James Harden had 33 points and the short-handed Houston Rockets edged closer to clinching a playoff spot with a 116-98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Jeremy Lin added 22 points to help the Rockets to their fourth straight victory. Houston (43-33) remained in seventh place in the Western Conference — three games in front of the Los Angeles Lakers — for their first playoff appearance since 2008-09.
LaMarcus Aldridge returned from an ankle injury with 32 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers (33-43), who matched their season-worst slide with a seventh straight loss.
The Rockets were without forward Chandler Parsons because of a right calf injury he sustained late in Houston's 112-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.