The Portland Trail Blazers spent most of Saturday night in comeback mode against the Houston Rockets, eventually falling short in overtime. Houston did their best to hand this game to the Blazers, but Portland refused.
Nicolas Batum did everything he could tonight, with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks (see video here), including a career high six 3-pointers. LaMarcus Aldridge (22 points, 10 rebounds), Raymond Felton (13 points), Craig Smith, Gerald Wallace and Jamal Crawford also scored in double figures.
Both teams looked tired and a little disorganized, but the home team took advantage of Marcus Camby's absence, out-rebounding Portland 16-3(!) in the first. Kyle Lowry led the Rockets to a 6 point lead.
Craig Smith came alive in the second, scoring Portland's first 8 points to tie the game. However, the Blazers then fell apart. No shots were falling, while Houston scored at will, building a 14 point lead. But behind Nicolas Batum's 20 first half points, the Blazers cut the lead to 5 at halftime.
The Blazers pushed the pedal hard to start the third, pushing back quickly against the Rockets to take a 1 point lead. But, and stop me if this sounds familiar, that's when the Blazers fell apart. Behind Lowry, Houston's lead bounced back to double digits. The lead was 8 after three.
The fourth quarter is one long attempted Blazer comeback. Finally, the Blazers take a one point lead with 6 minutes left on three Crawford free throws. Houston kept turning the ball over, but the Blazers couldn't take advantage. Eventually, Kyle Lowry puts Houston ahead with second left, only for the Blazers to tie it on an Aldridge jumper. And they headed to overtime.
The Blazers kept overtime close, but struggled to put up points on offense with repeated turnovers getting in the way. Houston led by 1 with a minute left, and the Blazers call timeout to set up a play... which leads to a wide open Felton three that danced on the rim but would not fall. Kevin Martin hit a jumper in the lane, leaving the Blazers down by 3.
Read the box score here, then stay tuned for Dave's recap. The Blazers get a day off, then are back in action at Noon on Monday (set your DVR's!). -- Tim