HOUSTON — James Harden put on an All-Star performance just before the real thing comes to Houston.
Harden had 35 points and 11 assists, Chandler Parsons scored 20 and the Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 118-103 on Friday night.
Harden went 13 for 16 from the field and four of five from 3-point range, a near-perfect night in the last game at the Toyota Center before it plays host to the NBA’s All-Star weekend. Acquired by Houston in a stunning trade with Oklahoma City just before the season, Harden was chosen as a reserve for the West squad, making his first All-Star team.
“I’m just focused on rallying these guys together, every single game," Harden said. “If I’m leading and showing my work ethic, they’ll follow."
LaMarcus Aldridge, another All-Star reserve for the West, scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Portland. The Blazers had won the previous two meetings this season in overtime, rallying from double-digit deficits in both.
Not this time. Houston preserved a comfortable lead for most of the second half, and Harden finished off Portland with a fadeaway jumper from the wing with just under 4 minutes remaining.
In other games on Friday:
MIAMI — LeBron James scored 30 points in another efficient performance, Dwyane Wade added 20 and Miami dominated the middle two quarters on the way to an easy win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
SALT LAKE CITY — Carlos Boozer scored 19 points, including 11 straight in the fourth quarter, and Chicago closed out a six-game road trip with a victory over Utah.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kobe Bryant shrugged off a scoreless first half to finish with 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and Los Angeles overcame a 20-point second-half deficit to beat Charlotte.
MINNEAPOLIS — Carmelo Anthony had 36 points and nine rebounds, scoring 12 points down the stretch to rally New York over Minnesota.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 21 points, Thabo Sefolosha had a season-high 18 and Oklahoma City rode a gigantic third-quarter run to a victory over Phoenix.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marc Gasol scored six of his 20 points down the stretch to help Memphis beat Golden State.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Greg Monroe had 26 points and 16 rebounds as Detroit snapped San Antonio’s 11-game winning streak with a victory over the short-handed Spurs.
INDIANAPOLIS — Rudy Gay scored 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, rallying Toronto past weary Indiana.
WASHINGTON — Washington held Brooklyn without a field goal for nearly 9 minutes during the first half, withstood a second-half slump and held on for its latest win over a team near the top of the standings.
ATLANTA — Greivis Vasquez had his first career triple-double and Eric Gordon scored 27 points, leading New Orleans over Atlanta to give the last-place Hornets a rare winning streak.
CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and Cleveland sent Orlando to its 12th straight loss.