The Portland Trail Blazers hung around for a little while against the heavily-favored Houston Rockets in the Toyota Center tonight, but eventually got buried beneath superior firepower, losing 132-108. Portland held a small lead early, but Houston turned on the jets in the second period and didn’t look back until it held a 23-point lead that would not be challenged.
James Harden, who has been a bucket-making machine as of late, nearly outscored Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and finished with a game-high 36 points. The Blazers had no sufficient answer; their star guards combined for just 38.
- Grudge match. This game marked the much-anticipated first head-to-head rematch between Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook since the Blazers’ utter dismantling of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs last season. Given the circumstances, and Westbrook’s new scenery, that luster was practically non-existent. Westbrook had the last word tonight (he’s rarely short of them) finishing with a triple-double (28 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists). Lillard struggled once again with his shot and finished with only 13 points on 4-15 shooting, along with 11 assists and 6 rebounds.
- No Little feat. In only the third start of his young career, Nassir Little continues to show glimpses of the potential that had many analysts calling him a draft night steal. His outside shot might have you pulling your hair out, but there’s no denying his combination of hustle and athleticism. Nas already looks to be a terrific rebounder for his size (he’s listed at only 6’5”) and has been fearless attacking the rim when given the opportunity. He’s got a long ways to go, but comparisons to Gerald Wallace, at least in style, don’t seem too ludicrous to imagine.
The Blazers will hop on a plane to New Orleans where they will take on the Zion Williamson-less Pelicans tomorrow night. Carmelo Anthony’s status TBD.