The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge (28 points, 12 rebounds), Wesley Matthews (26 points), and Damian Lillard (21 points while in constant foul trouble).
First Quarter: The Blazers came out to a great start, jumping ahead 18-9 thanks to hot shooting. But it didn't last long, as Aldridge went to the bench with his second foul (a tough call, he didn't touch James Harden and was still rung up). As the bench came in, they held their own again the Rockets, as Mo Williams found his range and used his jumper to keep the Blazers ahead.
Portland 28, Houston 26
Hey, the "careen into defender, snap head back, yell, and throw up wild prayer" strategy didn't pay off that time. Whaddya know?
by Roy Wonder
Second Quarter: More of the same, as Portland nursed a small lead all quarter, while the Rockets made runs to close the gap without taking the lead. Williams continued his strong shooting, while the starters spread the points around. Harden had 12 points for the Rockets, by on 2:11 shooting; the 7 free throws took care of the rest.
Portland 54, Houston 47
I used to really like Houston, they were my 2nd favorite team. But that was long ago, and this is a different Rockets team. This Houston team is the biggest bunch of whiners, floppers ive ever seen.
Third Quarter: Matthews hit from all over the court to push the Blazer lead into double-digits, and Houston found ways to stay close. After a poor foul call on Lillard, he picked up his focus and scored a three point play. Immediately after, the referees pushed Lillard to the bench by calling his fourth foul on one of the ugliest calls you'll see in the NBA this season. He sailed by Patrick Beverley as he shot a jumper, but Beverley jumped to his right to make contact. He completely missed Lillard... who was called for his fourth foul anyway.
Lillard barely escaped the court without getting a technical foul. The Blazers responded with Matthews and Lopez sparking a run, giving the Blazers a 16 point lead. The Rockets made a run out of the timeout, but Portland held on late, clinging to a double-digit lead
Portland 85, Houston 73
Least Valuable Player: The Rockets announcing trio
Fourth Quarter: Portland's defense held Houston back to start the quarter, but turnovers cost Portland again. And fouls, as Portland had 5 team fouls before Houston had one. This was a physical game too. In that situation, Houston inevitably made a run, pulling within 7 with five minutes left. After a moving screen called on Robin Lopez, Harden drained a three to make it 9 straight Houston points, and a Blazer 4 point game with 4 minutes left. Another Harden three made it a 2 point game with 3 minutes left. Aldridge made one of two free throws, and Howard did the same to keep it a 2 point game. Lillard then turned the ball over on the dribble under pressure, and Houston had a chance to tie or lead. Wesley made it a 3 point lead with 2 minutes left on free throws. But Portland's defense broke down and they allowed Houston to score an easy layup.
Lopez was fouled at the other end on an offensive rebound, and hit one free throw to keep the lead at 2 with 90 seconds left. But Houston hit a three-pointer to take the lead. In response, Lillard drove past the Rockets for a layup to regain the lead. Harden went for a layup but he was blocked by Lopez, but the Blazers missed an open three to seal a win. Harden turned the ball over at the other end though, and Wesley was fouled on the break, hitting one of two free throws for a 3 point lead with 19 seconds left in the game. Houston missed a free throw, and Portland had the ball up two, and Williams nearly turned over a pass. They got the ball to Matthews, who barely held onto the ball and the refs called a foul. But Matthews missed a bit free throw, and Houston got the ball with a chance to tie, with 11 seconds left. Harden threw up a three-point prayer... and it was answered. Portland had the ball in a tie game, with a chance to win, which hasn't gone well for them lately. And this was no different, as they turned over a lob pass, leading a heave for the Rockets, which nearly went in. Terrible ending, and still overtime to go.
Overtime: Lillard opened overtime by shooting a three, and swishing it. But he fouled out on the next possession as the refs tagged him with a charge on a play with minimal contact with the defender:
Houston scored at the other end. Mo Williams replaced Lillard, and promptly turned it over, but Portland stole the ball and Wesley hits two free throws. Portland's defense broke down at the other end though, and gave up another layup. Aldridge hit a midrange jumper to keep the 3 point lead with 2 minutes left, but Harden hit another three-pointer to tie the game. Portland had multiple chances to score but couldn't, and Houston too the lead on a floater. Aldridge missed a jumper with a minute left, and Houston missed but got two offensive rebounds. Howard was fouled, and hit one. Portland couldn't hit a three, and that's all she wrote. Yet another rough loss for the Blazers in a stretch of rough losses.
A Tuesday evening game in Memphis. In the meantime, stay tuned later tonight for Dave's analysis of this game.
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