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.
Parsons, who led all scorers with 29 points against the Kings, is averaging 15.3 points and 5.4 rebounds this season. The injury does not appear serious.
Houston was also without Carlos Delfino because of the flu.