Portland, which also got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Robin Lopez, led by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but Houston closed that to two with 4:45 to go.
Among other games, Golden State rallied from a big deficit and came up with a last-gasp winner to sink Dallas, former Celtics coach and now L.A. Clippers boss Doc Rivers won his first game back in Boston, and San Antonio's experienced core led the Spurs to a rout of Milwaukee.
Indiana's Roy Hibbert scored 24 points and Paul George had 15 of his 17 points during a second-half rally that saw the Pacers hit the front in the third quarter having been down by 13 points in the first half
Detroit's Kyle Singler top scored with 18 points in a team effort by the Pistons, who led by 18 points and saw that whittled back to three in the fourth quarter but held firm for an impressive victory.
Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 20 points. Chris Paul had 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Blake Griffin scored 16 and pulled down 12 rebounds — equaling teammate DeAndre Jordan's total.
In the day's other important games, Minnesota also held strong at the finish to win at Dallas, the much-improved Washington downed Atlanta, and Brooklyn deepened Memphis' home-court woes.
The Magic began the night having lost four straight overall and five in a row on the road. They won away from Orlando for the first time since last March 4 at New Orleans.
Tony Parker had 14 points and seven assists, Tiago Splitter added 11 points and Tim Duncan had 10 points for San Antonio (13-1). Reserves Marco Belinelli had 14 points, Boris Diaw added 13 points and Patty Mills 12 to keep the Spurs undefeated at home.
J.J. Redick scored 19 points and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 12 rebounds in the Pacific Division-leading Clippers' seventh win in nine games.
All five Miami starters sat out the fourth quarter for the second straight night, and Dwyane Wade sat out the whole way game again to give his knees more rest.
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