The Portland Trail Blazers gave up 38 fourth quarter points in Wednesday night's loss to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets were able to battle back from 17 down on the shoulders of James Harden (45 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists) and send the game into overtime on a desperation heave from Corey Brewer. Here is what the Blazers had to say about the final moments of regulation, via CSNNW:
I mean, it’s the NBA, man. I was telling some of the younger guys, ‘you’re going to see some stuff here that you’ve never seen before.’ He hit a crazy shot. I wouldn’t bank on him hitting that shot another time out of 20, but it went in. But we lost before that. You know, where we just let them back in the game. We’re up 17 points, I think. You’ve got to give them credit, obviously, they made some plays, but there are a lot of things we could have done differently.
How would you describe Harden’s game? Particularly late. I think he scored 26 in the fourth and overtime.
He played like himself. You know, he’s proven to be a clutch player and made a lot of big plays. He’s got a unique ability to score the basketball, obviously, and he did it tonight again.
I fouled [Harden] the same way I fouled him on the play before. It’s funny because I fouled him the first time and yelled at the ref like, ‘Yo! Call the foul! That’s what I’m trying to do.’ He got on me was like, ‘I got you.’ Called the foul. Then I feel like I did the same exact thing and he didn’t call it. He let it go.
Did you grab him around the waist?
Yeah, I grabbed him the same way I did the first time and the ref let it go I guess. And you saw them—even that shot that he made—come on, man. But, I mean, I guess things happen.
Where are you guys at emotionally right now?
We understand that we got to finish games. We got to finish them out. I mean, right now the only thing we got to do, we just got to keep moving forward, honestly. We know that things like this happen in the league and we just got to keep fighting, honestly. That’s all we can do at this point. There’s no need to get down and all of that because there’s a lot of games that we’re in, we just got to finish them, really.
It seems like human nature, though, would take over and you guys would be not overwhelmed, but hurt by this. You guys have seemed positive.
I mean, yeah, but that’s the only way we can be is positive. Like you said, I mean, we played great basketball tonight as a team. That’s all you can really ask for, and that shot that he made was just… that was crazy. But it’s still early in the season. Just got to keep fighting, man, keep staying together, keep staying positive, keep everybody on the same page, keep everybody on board. I feel like we’ll turn things around.
When the season first started, I liked the group of guys that we had here. Everybody wanted to work and they understood what it means to actually work. You can’t just work on everything because you’re going well. You got to work on the things that are not going well as well. So I expect everybody to hit the pavement and keep on going.
So you guys would be very frustrated and upset right now, but it seems like you guys are taking a positive approach.
I’m not saying that nobody is upset or anything like that. We never like to lose, but it’s not like the game is about to start back over again and they’re going to change up the results, so you got to take out of it what you’re going to take out of it, and that’s what I guess a lot of people are going to take out of it.
I mean, all these losses are hard for me. It doesn’t make no difference if you lose by 100 or you lose by one; it’s hard to lose. But it was different things that we learned in this game just because of the different things that they’re throwing at us. If it was to ever happen again, I would think that we’d be ready.
I think AC tried to wrap [Harden] up in the backcourt, but once he got a head of steam I didn’t want to foul him once he was into the shot. I thought that would have put him on the line. That was a hell of a play by him to not shoot it and then find the guy in stride. It’s a crazy shot, but he hit it, and hat’s off to Brewer. We still had a chance going into the overtime and I thought we played well, we just didn’t get enough stops, and they got us in overtime, obviously.
Could you describe, emotionally, how you guys feel right now?
You know, it’s tough. Losing is hard, but I think we’ll grow from it. I think this and the Memphis game are two games that, although we lost, there’s a lot of positive takeaways. Even the Spurs game. We’re getting better and eventually the wins are going to show that, but we’re just not coming out with the wins right now.
I think we're just playing the game and it comes down to certain situations that we got to be better in. I think our entire team is doing what we do. Everybody’s doing the same thing that they do throughout the course of the game, it’s just things have to be better. We got to be that much tighter with the ball, we got to cut that much harder, on defense we got to finish possessions. Right now it just seems like in those times we need to tighten up, we’re getting a little bit loose and teams are taking advantage of it.
Was anything said in here afterwards? Was there anything you can’t say to one of us?
I don’t think it’s nothing to come in here and start shouting out, because it wasn’t our effort. We competed hard. I think it was just situations that we just needed to be better in, and they were better than us in situations down the stretch. That’s what it came down to. We didn’t execute what we wanted to do well enough to win the game.
I know you never like to get into ranking losses, but does this one sting more than others?
This one… it’s frustrating just because they’re a team that has been in a funk too. They’ve lost a few games and under an interim head coach tonight, we had them down. When you have somebody down, you’ve got to finish them, and that’s not what we did. For it to be as dramatic as it was, it didn’t help, so it’s frustrating.
Obviously a very disappointing loss. We played a very good game. In the NBA, strange things can happen and we weren’t able to close it out and Corey Brewer hits a one-legged runner from the logo and, you know, that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Terry, you decided to foul James. Did you want to foul him that one possession?
Yeah, he just got away from Allen and, you know, Allen wasn’t in position to foul him. Mason did a good job, actually, of avoiding a foul because Harden took a two step and was going to shoot it. I mean, it would have been nice if we could have fouled, but, like I said, a one-legged runner from the logo—from 35 feet… stuff happens.
It seemed like it took it out of this team going into overtime, was it sort of a tough hill to climb then?
Yeah, you know, they had a lot of momentum. [We] couldn’t make a shot in overtime, but we didn’t shoot the ball necessarily that well in the fourth quarter. You can’t give up 38 points in the fourth quarter. There are a lot of things to look at, but the bottom line is we weren’t able to close it out.