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Rockets soar; Warriors, Cavs fall

  • Written by AFP
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 280
Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets takes a shot against Nerlens Noel of Mavericks during their NBA game at Los Angeles. Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets takes a shot against Nerlens Noel of Mavericks during their NBA game at Los Angeles.

The results

Indiana 99, Boston 97; Philadelphia 120, Brooklyn 97; Houston 105, Dallas 82; LA Lakers 127, Cleveland 113; Chicago 129, Atlanta 122; Denver 130, Sacramento 104; Utah 116, New Orleans 99; Minnesota 109, Golden State 103; Toronto 132, New York 106.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The Houston Rockets clinched an NBA playoff berth with a 105-82 rout of the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday as reigning champions Golden State and the Cleveland Cavaliers both lost.

Even with Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden sitting out with a sore left knee, the Rockets had little trouble from the Mavs.

Only a spate of eight second-quarter turnovers by Houston helped Dallas erase a 15-point deficit and briefly take a six-point lead.

The Rockets soon tidied things up to take a one-point lead at halftime that they wouldn’t surrender after the break.

Point guard Chris Paul scored 24 points and handed out 12 assists and guard Eric Gordon added 26 points for the Rockets, who led by as many as 26 in the fourth quarter.

Houston, who saw their 17-game winning streak ended by Eastern Conference leaders Toronto on Friday, improved their league-best record to 52-14.

They’re 1-1/2 games ahead of the Warriors atop the West and Gordon said the Rockets would keep the accelerator down in a bid to claim the top seed.

“We want to finish number one — I think that’s the main goal,” he said.

The depleted Warriors fell 109-103 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the defending champs’ second straight defeat.

With superstar Stephen Curry missing a second straight game with a sprained right ankle, Kevin Durant scored 39 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Golden State.

But Durant connected on just 11 of 32 of his shots from the field and sharp-shooter Klay Thompson needed 22 shots to score 21 points.

Draymond Green contributed 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Warriors, who were also missing Andre Iguodala, David West, Patrick McCaw and Jordan Bell as they lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season.

The struggles continued for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who fell to the Warriors in last year’s finals after beating them the year before.

LeBron James and the Cavs tied it twice but never led in the second half in a 127-113 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles.