Bulls extend Pacers' woes; Rockets beat Bobcats

The Sports Xchange/Reuters

Posted at Mar 25 2014 03:32 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2014 11:32 PM

Chicago Bulls guard Tony Snell (20) is defended by Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) during the first half at the United Center. Photo by David Banks, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.

Bulls 89, Pacers 77

Taj Gibson scored 23 points to lead the Chicago Bulls to a victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Kirk Hinrich added 18 points for the Bulls (40-31). Joakim Noah finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Indiana (51-20) missed the chance to clinch the Central Division title, although that seems to be a formality. Their lead atop the Eastern Conference was trimmed to two games over Miami.

Paul George led the Pacers with 21 points and George Hill scored 17, but Indiana shot just 37 percent from the field.

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Rockets 100, Bobcats 89

James Harden scored 31 points as the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to four games with a victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Harden scored 14 of his points in the third quarter, when the Rockets pushed a four-point halftime lead to 78-68 after three quarters.

Dwight Howard returned after missing the previous three games with a left ankle strain and finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes as the Rockets (48-22) remain in the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

Kemba Walker led the Bobcats (34-37) with 22 points, and Al Jefferson finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

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Suns 102, Hawks 95

Goran Dragic used a combination of outside jumpers and drives to the basket to score 19 points, helping the Phoenix Suns beat the Atlanta Hawks and move a step closer to the playoffs.

Dragic scored the last six points of the third quarter to punctuate an 18-9 run and send the Suns to their fourth consecutive victory.

Phoenix (42-29) are eighth in the West and in a tight race with Dallas and Memphis for the final two playoff spots.

Atlanta (31-38) got 19 points from both Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll but saw their lead in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference shrink to 2.5 games.