The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points, 20 rebounds), Damian Lillard (24 points, 5 assists) and Wesley Matthews (18 points).
First Half: Rough half. Unfortunately, but the Good Rockets and the Bad Blazers showed up at the same time. Portland's porous defense allowed easy buckets at the rim for Houston. Worse yet, Houston was unconscious from three, hitting 10-13 (and one miss was at the end of the half). That kept the Blazers glued to the shooters and opened up the lane even further. At the other end, Portland had nothing in the tank, making silly turnovers and missing open shots. Houston led by 22 before the Blazers switched to a zone defense to make a run. By halftime, Portland was lucky to even be close enough to consider a comeback.
Houston 71, Portland 56
Well...could be worse. We have given up an average of 37.3 points per quarter in our last 3 quarters. Not a great clip
Third Quarter: Portland cut the deficit to 12 but Houston responded with back to back three-point possessions to hold them at bay. Portland made another push, with Lillard hitting two free throws to pull within single digits for the first time since early in the game. After Lopez broke up an alley-oop attempt, Matthews hit a three in transition to pull the Blazers within 6. But Houston had the lead back in double-digits within seconds. Every break and most of the calls went against Portland in a short stretch, and combined with Matthews and Williams missing wide open shots, Houston restored their lead. Even hack-a-Dwight was unsuccessful. An ugly Jeremy Lin three-point swished to close another ugly quarter.
Houston 106, Portland 91
Just no luck at all right now.
Fourth Quarter: James Harden hit another three to easily hold back the Blazers' first surge, but they went on a 7 point run in less than a minute to close the gap to 11 and force a Houston timeout. Houston's rebounding advantages gave them extra chances, and they took advantage to put the game away. Soon the bench crew was in the game, and Portland moved their focus to Oklahoma City.
Another game tomorrow night to finish this brutal road trip, a 5pm PST game in Oklahoma City. In the meantime, stay tuned for more from Dave later tonight.
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