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Harden, Rockets Clinch Playoff Birth With Win

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After it looked as if they’d be heading home early just a week ago, the Houston Rockets are in the playoffs after securing the final Western Conference playoff spot on the last day of the regular season. “A lot of people wrote us off, thought we weren’t going to make the playoffs and here we are,” James Harden said.

Harden scored 38 points to lead the Rockets to an easy 116-81 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night for the playoff spot.

Source: ESPN

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Sources: Jameer Nelson Signs 1-Year Deal With Pelicans

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Free-agent guard Jameer Nelson has agreed to a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told The Vertical.

Nelson entered free agency Wednesday, when the Denver Nuggets waived him to create roster space to sign Richard Jefferson and allow second-year guard Jamal Murray to assume the starting point-guard role.

Source: Shams Charania of The Vertical

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Bobby Portis Apologizes to Bulls for Mirotic Fight

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Bobby Portis has apologized to his Bulls teammates for getting into a fight that left Nikola Mirotic with facial fractures and a concussion. “He didn’t address us today, but he did address the team before so that was taken care of,” Bulls swingman Justin Holiday said after Friday’s practice.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg acknowledged that Portis’ apology took place during a team meeting but did not want to go into specific details about his message. “I’ll keep that between the team,” Hoiberg said, “as far as exactly what was said in that meeting.”

Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN

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Joel Embiid Still Not Cleared for Back-to-Back Games

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid said he has not been cleared to play back-to-back games and does not expect to be in the lineup Saturday at Toronto.

Embiid was in the starting lineup for the home opener Friday night against the Boston Celtics, scoring 11 points to go along with 14 rebounds in 28 minutes as Philadelphia lost 102-92. Asked after Friday’s game if he was OK with not playing Saturday night, Embiid replied, “Um I’m not OK with it but we have a plan in place and we have to follow it.”

Source: ESPN

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