Rockets, Pacers see play-off hopes hurt


The Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers missed chances to move closer to securing NBA play-off spots after losses on Thursday.

The Chicago Bulls rallied past the Rockets 103-100 to close to within a game of the Pacers in the Eastern Conference.

The Rockets could have moved into eighth in the Western Conference, but instead were outscored 32-20 in the fourth quarter at Toyota Center.

Nikola Mirotic had 28 points off the bench for the Bulls, while Jimmy Butler finished with 21 and Pau Gasol had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

James Harden finished with a game-high 24 points for the Rockets.

The Pacers were well beaten, going down to the Orlando Magic 114-94 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Evan Fournier (25 points) and Nikola Vucevic (24) led the Magic, with Paul George's 27 points not enough for the Pacers.

The Portland Trail Blazers consolidated their spot in sixth in the Western Conference with a 116-109 win over the Boston Celtics.

LeBron James moved into 12th on the all-time NBA scoring list with 24 points in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 107-87 thrashing of the Brooklyn Nets.

Steven Adams hit a go-ahead tip-in to see the Oklahoma City Thunder overcome the shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers 119-117, while the New Orleans Pelicans edged past the Denver Nuggets 101-95.