While the Houston Rockets pulled out two wins with James Harden sidelined, his all-around effort proved key during their latest victory.
The Rockets try to win four straight for the first time in almost three months Friday night when they visit the injury-plagued and slumping Portland Trail Blazers.
After beating the Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando with Harden sidelined due to a sore right foot, Houston's leading scorer returned Wednesday in a 112-102 win at Sacramento. Harden, averaging 25.9 points to rank fifth in the NBA, had 21, nine assists and seven rebounds.
Chandler Parsons also came up big with 29 points after sitting out against the Magic with an illness. Houston hasn't posted four consecutive victories since a season best-tying five-game run Dec. 31-Jan. 8.
"It was great to have James and Chandler back," said Omer Asik, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds. "We knew we had to come in here and play hard."
In seventh place in the Western Conference, the Rockets (42-33) h...