The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists) and Damian Lillard (20 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds). Nicolas Batum bounced back nicely from a slow first half with a memorable final line (17 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists, 2 big blocks), and Wesley Matthews had a solid night with 16, 5 and 5. Meanwhile, JJ Hickson added 12 big rebounds and plenty of energy.
The Blazers started well in the first half, staying close with the surging Rockets. However, things changed toward the end of the first quarter. Coach Terry Stotts changed the rotations (necessitated partially by the return of Ronnie Price and the injury of Sasha Pavlovic), and a lineup of mostly youngsters came in. Even without some of their starters, Houston salivated. The Blazers turned into the Keystone Cops, giving the Rockets turnover after turnover, as a 15-3 run gave them a fairly easy double-digit lead. If you missed it, imagine getting four tetanus shots. That would be half as painful as that stretch. The starters came in. They actually made a few shots, but the defense and turnovers were still painful. Thanks to poor Houston three-point shooting, the Blazers hung around, only down by 8 at halftime.
What the.... We look like the Clippers from the mid 90's
The Blazers came out of the locker room with some energy, and the Rockets started misfiring. Within minutes, the game was tied. The Rockets tried to maintain a slim lead until 6 minutes left, as the Blazers started removing their starters. However, the Blazers had come back to life. The resurgent Batum found his groove at both ends, and Barton showed signs of why Portland drafted him. Meanwhile, the Blazer Block Party had begun, with multiple highlight blocks against bewildered Rockets shooters. The lead reached six late, but as the starters got a breather, Houston roared back, leaving the Blazers with a 1 point lead at the buzzer.
Harden barges into a defender, draws a foul. Drink.
by Roy Wonder
The Blazers took advantage of the Houston bench to open a 5 point lead early in the fourth quarter. However, they gave up back to back open three pointers to quickly fall behind. As a few borderline calls went the other direction, the Blazers fell into a funk, unable to defend or score. By the 6 minute mark, nearly every possession was a turnover or a missed jumper. Lillard pulled the Blazers back into the game, then Aldridge and Hickson took turns tying the game. Houston regained a three point lead, but a Matthews three erased it with a minute left. James Harden got the ball with a chance to win, but some nice defense from Matthews shut him down, and the teams headed to overtime.
Both teams struggled in overtime until Lillard nailed a three pointer for the lead. On the next possession, Batum nailed a three, too! The Blazers suddenly jumped to a 6 point lead, and their defense was holding Houston scoreless. In return, Harden put the team on his back, and to the free throw line. However, the Blazers held their own, keeping the lead near 5, when Lillard said "It's my time" and nailed a cold-blooded three-pointer to give the Blazers an 8 point lead with 1:42 left. Houston missed a few threes, waved the white flag to come back to Earth. An Aldridge jumper finished them off.
Did anyone else just jump up and yell on both those 3's??
The next game is Monday, as the Blazers finish their short road trip in Dallas. And don't forget to check out Dave's analysis of tonight's game.. -- Tim