The Blazers were led by the returning LaMarcus Aldridge (32 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists), who did most of his damage in the first half. Wesley Matthews had a solid night (if you ignore his three-point shooting) with 18 points and 4 assists, and that was just about it. Newly-crowned West Rookie of the Month Damian Lillard had a tough night, but still finished with 11 points and 7 assists.
First Quarter: Lots of fun. The Rockets were hot from three (6-8) but Aldridge's return sparked the Blazers. Harden dominated with 17 points, but LaMarcus returned the favor with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Houston couldn't get away from Portland, and only led by 4 after one. Score: Rockets 35, Blazers 31.
So this is what happens when LMA gets some rest.
Second Quarter: This was less fun. The rockets immediately scored 7 straight points to force a Blazer timeout. Out of the timeout, the Rockets shut down Lillard, then scored an easy layup. Time for another timeout, 20 seconds after the first. Things quieted down after that, as the deficit was the same 5 minutes later. Houston brought the defense, and Portland struggled for shots. The lead suddenly Rocketed to 19. However, the Blazers switched to zone defense, and Houston was flummoxed. As a bonus, the Blazers finally got a few foul calls, and just like that, the deficit was only 9 again. They took a timeout, only to promptly turn it over for a Lillard layup. Portland cut the lead to 6 late in the quarter, and Will Barton had a chance to make it 4 with a three-pointer, but it missed at the buzzer. Score: Rockets 63, Blazers 56.
56 point first half, nothing to be ashamed of there.
63 point first half for Houston, a crying shame.
Third Quarter: Rough start. Houston prevented Aldridge from getting the ball, and in turn the Rockets took advantage by pushing their lead back into double-digits. From there, nothing. The lead stuck around 14, give or take, and neither team made any progress. The late quarter stretch said it all: Meyers Leonard had a chance to cut the lead to 9, but missed an easy floater. The Rockets were wide open at the other end for a layup. On the inbound pass, the Rockets stole the ball for another layup. In 10 seconds, the game went from "easy shot for a 9 point lead" to a 15 point lead. From there, Meyers missed another layup to end the quarter. Score: Rockets 92, Blazers 77.
Ugly way to end the 3rd.
by Blazing Chargers
Fourth Quarter: Even though the Houston lead was in the low teens, they toyed with the Blazers through the first half of the quarter. James Harden's easy three-point play gave them an 18 point lead at the halfway point. That was followed by a steal for a 20 point lead. It got so bad, the Rockets played Thomas Robinson. The Rose Garden faithful stayed around to watch as Houston easily held on for the win.
Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight. In the meantime, check out the upcoming Blazers schedule. -- Tim