In a wild defensively-challenged game at the Moda Center, the Houston Rockets batted back the Portland Trail Blazers for a victory. The game eventually became testy down the stretch, as the Blazers (and their fans) lashed out at the referees and their opponents. The Blazers’ body language left no questions about how they felt at the end of the game.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Moe Harkless and Mason Plumlee.
No defense allowed! The Blazers and Rockets combined for an astonishing seventy points in just the first quarter! James Harden did whatever he wanted, and so did the Blazers’ back court tandem. The teams basically traded three-pointers during the quarter, as well as highlight drives to the hoop for two. Neither team could maintain a lead, and they were knotted after the first.
Portland Trail Blazers 35, Houston Rockets 35
Also, we had the all-important update on Meyers Leonard’s new haircut.
Well, the shooting came back to earth in the second quarter, as neither team could keep up their torrid pace. However, the Blazers were barely outscored the Rockets by a shockingly-low total of 30-27. McCollum and Harden combined for 41 first-half points, and defense was a mystical animal, like a unicorn.
Houston Rockets 65, Portland Trail Blazers 62
Tonight’s theme of “defense? what’s that?” continued, as the Blazers gave up 18 points in the first five minutes of the quarter. The Rockets opened the first double-digit lead of the game, pulling ahead by 10 at the halfway point. They kept an 8+ point lead through most of the third, until the Blazers’ bench unit, led by Turner, whittled the lead down to one. But a late defensive lapse kept the Rockets ahead.
Houston Rockets 96, Portland Trail Blazers 93
The Rockets caught fire from downtown, and the Blazers struggled to match. Lillard even had the best play that didn’t show up in the box score (see video below). Portland again chipped way at Houston’s lead, but each time they closed the gap, their defense betrayed them. Houston held an 11-point lead at the halfway point, thanks to a wide open three-pointer. Soon the lead was 14, and the clearly-frustrated Blazers started lashing out at the foul calls and their opponents. Moe Harkless clearly turned to a referee and said, “you suck!”. Meanwhile. the Rockets were called for a flagrant foul. But eventually, the Rockets escaped Portland with a victory.
First the first time in an entire month, the Portland Trail Blazers actually get two consecutive days off! They’ll stay at home to rest and recover, then will host the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night. But stay tuned, Eric Griffith will have plenty more analysis from tonight’s game.