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Rockets stay alive in win over Trail Blazers

Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden shook off another tough shooting night with some clutch baskets down the stretch as the Houston Rockets avoided elimination with a 108-98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Harden missed nine of his first 12 shots before scoring eight of his 17 points in the final four minutes to help keep the Rockets' season alive.

Houston trailed 3-1 in the tight series, with three of the first four games going to overtime. Wednesday's meeting was also close, but the Rockets ended the game on an 8-0 run to secure the must-win.

Dwight Howard led the Rockets with 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons chipped in with 21 and 20 points, respectively, for the victors, who outscored Portland in the paint by a 60-40 margin.

Wesley Matthews netted a game-high 27 points, and Damian Lillard totaled 26 with eight rebounds and seven assists for Portland, which received just five points from its bench.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who came in averaging over 35 points in the series, finished with just eight on 3-of-12 shooting.

The series shifts back to Portland for Game 6 on Friday.

05/01 00:34:22 ET