Damian Lillard had 25 points, 18 of them in the second half, and Hassan Whiteside had 18 points and 17 rebounds. Russell Westbrook had a triple-double with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists, but James Harden was held in check with 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
Here are tonight’s takeaways:
- Proper defense: Harden was double-teamed upon crossing half court for most of the game, and it resulted in victory. Westbrook was free to wreak havoc, though Kent Bazemore did his best to contain. The Blazers will happily take the night for Westbrook if they get the win.
- Second unit control: When it looked like Houston would get back into the game in the fourth quarter, a series by the bench unit saved the day. First a response three by Gary Trent Jr., then a diving save of a loose ball by Nassir Little to find an open Anthony Tolliver in the corner for three. The bench scored 20 points, and stayed in the game long enough for the starters to finish things off.
- Keeping the Rockets in check: Houston shot just 16-of-49 from three, and took six fewer free throws than Portland, both large departures from the Rockets traditional game. Credit goes to the scheme for the Blazers and the execution of the perimeter defense.
Portland continues their southern road trip in Dallas on Friday.