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Final: Blazers Ground the Rockets, 111-104

The Portland Trail Blazers, along with LaMarcus Aldridge, have arrived. In front of a national television audience, the Blazers defeated the presumed-contender Houston Rockets to maintain their lead as the top team in the Western Conference.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazers were led by the amazing LaMarcus Aldridge's MVP-level night, scoring 31 points with 25 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He received support from Robin Lopez (16 points, 10 rebounds), Nicolas Batum (15 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) and Wesley Matthews (18 points). Damian Lillard struggled but still contributed 8 points with 6 assists.

Here is a full list of every player to ever score at least 31 points with 25 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks, for perspective on Aldridge's historic night.

Box Score

First Quarter: As both teams struggled to shoot the ball (the Blazers at 30% and 1-7 from three!), Portland used their rebounding to their advantage, using 5 offensive boards to keep Houston at bay. Flop as they may, the Rockets simply could not pull ahead of the Blazers, who hit just just enough shots to stay ahead.

Portland 21, Houston 20

Second Quarter: Neither team could truly get anything going, as the whistles blew non-stop, and the shots kept missing. As the Blazers kept misfiring, Dwight Howard and James Harden finally took advantage for a 5 point lead, forcing a Blazer timeout. Portland simply continued to miss easy shots and make dumb mistakes, allowing Houston to stay ahead. Aldridge warmed up late to keep things close, but Jeremy Lin used the patented Rockets "push the defender and fall over for a foul call" to keep the lead at halftime.

Houston 44, Portland 43

This reminds me of the Pacers against Miami the other night. Pacers looked nervous, out of sorts the first half.
by tyeforshee

Third Quarter: Portland picked it up in the second half. In a hilarious moment, both Howard and Chandler Parsons went for the defense rebound, canceling each other out. While Dwight gave Parsons the stink-eye, Aldridge proceeded to grab the ball off the bounce and lay it in. The Blazers pushed the lead to 10 on a Lopez three-point play, but the Rockets quickly cut the lead back down. From there, the Blazers kept a small lead as the teams fought back and forth, neither gaining an advantage. As the bench arrived, Houston cut the lead to four. The Rockets kept Howard and Harden in down the stretch, and they closed the gap quickly, helped by Blazer turnovers and fouls.

Fourth Quarter: Aldridge and Dorell Wright's three-point plays quickly gave the Blazers a 6 point lead, followed by Mo Williams' floater to make it 8. Houston quickly needed timeout to bring the starters back. The Blazers responded with a stop and a Lopez layup for a 10 point lead. A rough three-point foul helped Houston close the gap, but Wright got the points right back. Thanks to some help by Howard and a turnover, Houston cut the lead to 5 and Blazers Coach Terry Stotts called a timeout at the halfway point. Howard and Harden personally kept Houston close, with the Blazer lead cut to 2 with 4:45 left. With 4 minutes left and a chance to tie, Houston turned it over and a Matthews jumper made them pay, helping the Blazers regain a 4 point lead. After a Rockets miss, Aldridge set up Batum for three... swish, and a 7 point Blazer lead! But at the other end, Lopez was called for his fifth foul. Harden cut the lead to 6 with 2:45 left. In turn, Aldridge was fouled and tossed the ball to the rim... and Howard goaltended it! Aldridge's free throw gave the Blazers a 9 point lead with 2:15 left. After Houston missed, Matthews hit a layup, and was fouled! He made the lead 12 with less than 2 minutes left, and Houston was out of comebacks. The Blazers scored a huge win in front of a national television audience.

What's Next:

The Blazers will head to the airport for a four-game East Coast road trip, starting Saturday night in Philadelphia. But first, stay tuned for more game coverage later tonight from Ben and Dave.

Comments of the Night!

Thanks for participating in our Gameday Threads, which were insane for tonight's nationally-televised game! Here were the most popular comments:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
16 SNewtn clock blocked
11 colbymac Every time I drink, we win. Every time I don't drink we lose.
10 irdc Sweep the leg!
10 hoodieNation This has been up for over 10 minutes and we've not had a rec mooching comment by T Darkstar...
9 cam503 Blaha!
8 Hermistonmelons Rip City Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
8 Chuck Norriss [no title]
8 Hermistonmelons Houston, YOU have a problem!
7 hoodieNation I bet it smells like Dave
7 MiledAnimal I like the part about the Blazers being the 2014 NBA CHAMPIONS!!!
6 Oh. Em. Gee. Go Trail Blazers!!
6 bustabucket Go Blazers!
6 Respect_these_years OK I'm leaving for the game!!!
6 Timmay! ew.
6 Mortimer Old spice and board games
5 420Phenom Time to deactivate their thrusters or puncture the fuel tank
5 Timmay! I probably should be worried about this game, but I'm not.
5 hoodieNation Paul Allen teams are 36-6
5 SlickRick1987 Go Portland Trail Blazers!!!
5 cam503 Go Portland Trail Blazers, leaders of the Western Conference!!!!
5 cam503 At least for meow.
5 Bradley James McEachern Go Portland Trail Blazers: Pride of the entire West Coast!!
4 Cablinasian We should celebrate LMA more for never turning it over.
4 Mortimer It'd be naive to think that they didn't murder Mandela to help promote the movie
4 cam503 What's up, my kittens??!
4 Timmay! James Harden is everything wrong with the modern NBA
4 KingWes Let's obliterate, eviscerate, annihilate, decimate, eradicate, disembowel, KICK THE #^%#^ OUTTA THEM ROCKETS!!!!
3 Blazing Chargers Or any unnecessary fouling at the end!
3 Chuck Norriss Nice video of Cj on Instagram shooting 3's.
3 SlimSteve They need a 7'1 Center on their roster
3 Ilikeemall As my superstition guides me to...
3 BlazerRoddy I yelled woohoo scared my dog and he farted.
3 colbymac [no title]
3 colbymac I liked this tweet a lot
3 Bradley James McEachern I remember a game a few years back when the Heat played the Hawks on TNT
3 Mortimer It's too bad ya turned it off, they did an entire hour on the Blazers right after that
3 Tyler Durrden they're gonna cut the game off so they can go to the post game analysis
3 MiledAnimal I just tuned-in, Blazers start winning.
3 Timmay! I love our passing.
3 colbymac at least he recognizes it
3 anitachampionship First live game thread!!
3 KingWes We talking about practice?
3 AustinCroshere44 bailing here in Indiana... morning is coming fast
3 KingWes Laker fans.
3 Mortimer I wouldn't mind a lil' exposure of YOUR nation, Timmay ;-)
3 Eugene Saxe I would very much enjoy a Portland Trail Blazers victory
3 T Darkstar I never get tired of Mike and Mike.