The Rockets seized control early and controlled pretty much thereon out in defeating the Blazers 116-98. James Harden led the way with 33 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Jeremy Lin also had an outstanding all-around game with 22 points on 8-13 shooting, eight assists, two steals, and a large part in containing Damian Lillard to 11 points.
The Blazers were staying somewhat within striking distance late in the third quarter when, in a span of six seconds with time winding down, the Rockets got two hoops sandwiched around a Patrick Beverley steal. That bumped up the score from 88-77 to 92-77 and, from that point on, forget about the Trail Blazers being anywhere close to striking distance.
FROM THE FIELD
The Rockets shot 39-76 for 51.3 percent. From distance, they severely outclassed the Blazers, shooting 12-28 for 42.9 percent as compared to Portland’s 2-20 performance from the outside.
AT THE LINE
The Rockets shot an average 26-35 (74.3 percent) as a team from the line, but they certainly seemed better than that for all those watching. Greg Smith severely improved at the line with a 9-12 performance. Same with Omer Asik, whose 3-4 performance is markedly better than his 55.2-percent season percentage.
Smith and Asik got their dunks on. So did Donatas Motiejunas off a fast break transition hoop off a Blazers miss. Thomas Robinson came in late and joined the dunk party.
The Rockets travel immediately to face the Nuggets, a team that has certainly given the Rockets trouble in beating Houston all three times they have played this season. This could seriously be a potential first-round playoff matchup, as the Nuggets currently hold that third spot in the Western Conference.