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Rockets, Harden find groove

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POSTED April 25, 2014 11:42 p.m.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left and the Houston Rockets narrowed Portland’s first-round playoff advantage to 2-1 with a 121-116 overtime victory over the Trail Blazers on Friday night.

James Harden broke out of a slump with a career playoff-best 37 points and Dwight Howard added 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets.

LaMarcus Aldridge had more than 40 points in each of Portland’s victories in the first two games in Houston. But Omer Asik did a good job of shutting him down in Game 3, holding the All-Star forward to 23 points. The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 30 points.

Portland trailed by as many as 11 points in the final quarter but Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to tie the game at 110. Harden missed a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Lillard’s layup gave Portland a 116-112 lead with 3:08 left in the extra period. Jeremy Lin hit a jumper from the top of the key before Harden’s fadeaway tie it with 1:51 to go.

Bulls 100, Wizards 97

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mike Dunleavy scored 35 points, one shy of his career-high, Jimmy Butler hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining, and the Chicago Bulls hung on Friday night for a 100-97 win over the Washington Wizards, trimming the deficit to 2-1 in their Eastern Conference first round series.

Dunleavy went 12 for 19 from the field, including a career-high eight 3-pointers on 10 attempts, for the Bulls, who are attempting to become only the fourth NBA team to win a seven-game series after losing the first two at home.

Bradley Beal scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter for the Wizards.

Nets 102, Raptors 98

NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Johnson scored 29 points, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett brought a charge to their first playoff game in Brooklyn, and the Nets earned a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.

Johnson made the clinching free throws with 3.1 seconds left after the Nets blew almost all of a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead. Deron Williams added 22 points and eight assists for the sixth-seeded Nets, who host Game 4 on Sunday night.

Pierce had 18 points, and he and Garnett provided the game’s signature plays late in the second quarter, a reminder that the Nets brought the veterans here as much for their bravado as their basketball.

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points for the Raptors, who have lost 13 straight road playoff games. Patrick Patterson added 17 points but missed two free throws with a chance to tie for Toronto, whose last postseason victory was May 6, 2001, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Philadelphia.

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