The Blazers were led by the amazing LaMarcus Aldridge's MVP-level night, scoring 31 points with 25 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He received support from Robin Lopez (16 points, 10 rebounds), Nicolas Batum (15 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) and Wesley Matthews (18 points). Damian Lillard struggled but still contributed 8 points with 6 assists.
Here is a full list of every player to ever score at least 31 points with 25 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks, for perspective on Aldridge's historic night.
First Quarter: As both teams struggled to shoot the ball (the Blazers at 30% and 1-7 from three!), Portland used their rebounding to their advantage, using 5 offensive boards to keep Houston at bay. Flop as they may, the Rockets simply could not pull ahead of the Blazers, who hit just just enough shots to stay ahead.
Portland 21, Houston 20
Second Quarter: Neither team could truly get anything going, as the whistles blew non-stop, and the shots kept missing. As the Blazers kept misfiring, Dwight Howard and James Harden finally took advantage for a 5 point lead, forcing a Blazer timeout. Portland simply continued to miss easy shots and make dumb mistakes, allowing Houston to stay ahead. Aldridge warmed up late to keep things close, but Jeremy Lin used the patented Rockets "push the defender and fall over for a foul call" to keep the lead at halftime.
Houston 44, Portland 43
This reminds me of the Pacers against Miami the other night. Pacers looked nervous, out of sorts the first half.
Third Quarter: Portland picked it up in the second half. In a hilarious moment, both Howard and Chandler Parsons went for the defense rebound, canceling each other out. While Dwight gave Parsons the stink-eye, Aldridge proceeded to grab the ball off the bounce and lay it in. The Blazers pushed the lead to 10 on a Lopez three-point play, but the Rockets quickly cut the lead back down. From there, the Blazers kept a small lead as the teams fought back and forth, neither gaining an advantage. As the bench arrived, Houston cut the lead to four. The Rockets kept Howard and Harden in down the stretch, and they closed the gap quickly, helped by Blazer turnovers and fouls.
Fourth Quarter: Aldridge and Dorell Wright's three-point plays quickly gave the Blazers a 6 point lead, followed by Mo Williams' floater to make it 8. Houston quickly needed timeout to bring the starters back. The Blazers responded with a stop and a Lopez layup for a 10 point lead. A rough three-point foul helped Houston close the gap, but Wright got the points right back. Thanks to some help by Howard and a turnover, Houston cut the lead to 5 and Blazers Coach Terry Stotts called a timeout at the halfway point. Howard and Harden personally kept Houston close, with the Blazer lead cut to 2 with 4:45 left. With 4 minutes left and a chance to tie, Houston turned it over and a Matthews jumper made them pay, helping the Blazers regain a 4 point lead. After a Rockets miss, Aldridge set up Batum for three... swish, and a 7 point Blazer lead! But at the other end, Lopez was called for his fifth foul. Harden cut the lead to 6 with 2:45 left. In turn, Aldridge was fouled and tossed the ball to the rim... and Howard goaltended it! Aldridge's free throw gave the Blazers a 9 point lead with 2:15 left. After Houston missed, Matthews hit a layup, and was fouled! He made the lead 12 with less than 2 minutes left, and Houston was out of comebacks. The Blazers scored a huge win in front of a national television audience.
The Blazers will head to the airport for a four-game East Coast road trip, starting Saturday night in Philadelphia. But first, stay tuned for more game coverage later tonight from Ben and Dave.
Comments of the Night!
Thanks for participating in our Gameday Threads, which were insane for tonight's nationally-televised game! Here were the most popular comments: