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Harden scores 44, Rockets pull away from Pacers 110-100

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — James Harden scored 19 of his 44 points in the fourth quarter and Josh Smith added 18 to help the Houston Rockets beat Indiana 110-100 on Monday night, handing the Pacers their sixth straight loss.

The Rockets (47-23) have won four of five.

Indiana’s sinking playoff hopes took another big hit despite 23 points from C.J. Watson. George Hill had 20 points for the Pacers (30-40).

It looked as though Houston would run away after jumping to an early double-digit lead and extending the margin to 41-20 early in the second quarter.

Indiana finally rallied in the third, using a 16-4 spurt to get as close as 68-66 in the final 2 minutes.

But the Rockets closed the quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 76-68 lead. They rebuilt a double-digit margin early in the fourth and then Harden sealed the win by scoring 12 points in a 4-minute flurry.

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