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Rockets clinch playoff berth in blowout victory over the Pelicans

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The Houston Rockets clinched their seventh straight playoff berth in a blowout victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. 

NBA: Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Following a tough win over the San Antonio Spurs, the Houston Rockets took care of business with a 113-90 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Sunday night, in the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. With the win, the Rockets tied their regular-season series against the Pelicans, while clinching their seventh straight playoff berth.

As the old saying goes, “Let the good times roll,” the Rockets had more than a good time in the Big Easy. Coming out of the gates shooting 46.7 percent from behind the arc, the Rockets came out on fire and took an early 33-19 lead following the first quarter. While the Pelicans struggled to find their groove on offense, their offensive woes were the least of their worries as James Harden got off to a hot start, scoring 12 of his 28 points in the first 12 minutes.

Despite holding an early 14 point lead into the second quarter, it felt as if the Rockets were poised to let the Pelicans play their way back into the game. However, Houston never took their foot off the gas and held a commanding 63-44 led into the second half.

And after taking an 87-69 lead into the fourth quarter, the Rockets coasted to their fifth victory in six games.

Although it was a quiet night for James Harden with 28 points (10-for-19 from the field), it was a total team effort for the Rockets in the win. Against his old ball club, Eric Gordon put on a shooting clinic recording 18 points on 6-for-11 shooting from deep, while Danuel House added in 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field, 4-for-5 from behind the arc.

Despite a rough shooting night of 10 points (4-for-12 from the field), Chris Paul continued to showcase how he became one of the best floor generals in league history, dishing out 13 assists and five steals. While the Pelicans disgruntled star, Anthony Davis, continued his play on minute restrictions, Clint Capela was a monster on the glass recording 17 rebounds in the win.

For New Orleans, Frank Jackson led the way with 19 points and six assists, while rising star, Julius Randle, added 15 points in the loss.

Houston moves to 47-27 on the season and an away record of 20-17 for the year. Up next, the Rockets will travel to Milwaukee for a potential NBA Finals preview against the Bucks. Tipoff is slated for Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. CT.