For what it’s worth, last night’s Trail Blazers-Rockets game was much closer than the final score would indicate. Houston won the high-scoring affair 130-114, although the game was back and forth until the fourth quarter, when the Rockets finally pulled away for good. The Rockets shot a blistering 47 percent from 3-point land, including far too many wide open looks, thanks to defensive breakdowns. James Harden led all scorers with 38 points, and Rockets sixth man Eric Gordon chipped in 26 off the bench. CJ McCollum led Portland with 28 points, and Damian Lillard contributed 27. However, the takeaway from last night’s game was yet again the defensive problems.
James Harden patiently waits for the switch and then scores/dishes at will virtually every time down the floor.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) November 28, 2016
With last night's 130-point performance against Houston, Portland has surpassed Brooklyn for the NBA's worst defensive rating (110.5)— Jason Quick (@jwquick) November 28, 2016
As The Oregonian’s Mike Richman pointed out, of particular concern was the Trail Blazers’ pick and roll defense. Head coach Terry Stotts addressed the situation after the game.
—video via CSN NW
Trail Blazers digital reporter Casey Holdahl broke down the potential playoff implications of this loss, as well as the fourth quarter collapse.
The Trail Blazers have now lost six of their last eight games, are 9-10 overall and 5-4 at home this season. With the win, the Rockets have taken the season series versus the Trail Blazers with the last of their three contests this season scheduled for March 30.
Heading into the third quarter, it looked as though the Trail Blazers were in good position to even the season series versus the Rockets. While Houston managed to take a 10-point lead in the third quarter, Portland answered back with a 10-0 run to tie the game midway through the third. The Rockets would ultimately take a three-point lead into the fourth, which seemed like a reasonable deficit to overcome in the final 12 minutes.
But the game would go the other way, as the Rockets would outscore the Trail Blazers 34-21 in the fourth to come away with the 16-point victory.
The Trail Blazers frustrations boiled over last night, culminating in a couple of uncharacteristic emotional outbursts directed at the officials.
Whoa. CJ McCollum gets his shot blocked by Pat Beverley and then fires the ball at referee Brent Barnarky, earning himself a tech.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) November 28, 2016
Moe Harkless just told a ref: "You suck"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) November 28, 2016
Portland (9-10) now has two days off before hosting the Indiana Pacers (9-9) Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. PT. Expect the team to use the break to work on shoring up the defensive struggles and attempt to bounce back to .500 against a quality Pacers team.