Rockets offense sizzles in win over Blazers

Rockets offense sizzles in win over Blazers
January 20, 2014, 11:00 pm
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Jan 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons (25) drives during the second quarter as Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) defends at Toyota Center.

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The Rockets have one of the top offenses in the league and scored 71 points in the first half against Portland on Monday night to prove it.

But unlike Thursday night, when the Rockets set a franchise-low with just 19 second half points, Houston continued to play excellent offensive basketball to beat Portland, 126-113. It’s their second win over the Blazers this season, who drop just their tenth game of the season.  The 126 points is a new season-high and the most points they’ve scored since a 136-103 win against Dallas on Mar. 3 last season.

Chandler Parsons put in a season-high 31 points and had 10 rebounds and seven assists. He acknowledged after the game, that when the Rockets went to the locker room with their 71-56 lead, he definitely thought about what happened on Thursday night against the Thunder in the second half.

“That was the first thing I said when we came back here (in the locker room),” Parsons said. “We did this against the Thunder and ended up having the worst second half ever. I was definitely letting them know there could be no let-ups and just keep playing five-minute games and segments and win each one of those. We had no let-down.”

The Blazers would get as close as six points at 86-80 in the third quarter, but the Rockets went on a 7-0 run and were never threatened again.

Houston took a lead at 11:19 of the first quarter on the first two of Parsons 31 points and would not relinquish it. They built a 14-point lead in the first quarter and a 22-point lead in the first half, while shooting 66.7 percent, making 28-of-42 shots. They also made 10-of-13 3-pointers.

“We moved the ball for the most part pretty well,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. “We got offensive rebounds. We ended up with 17 offensive rebounds which helped a great deal.”

Those offensive rebounds led to 23 second chance points, which set a new season high for the second consecutive game.

Houston played without Terrence Jones, who had started the last 34 games and was coming off a career-high 36-point performance against Milwaukee on Saturday. Jones suffered a thigh bruise in practice on Sunday and hopes to return for the Rockets next game on Wednesday against Sacramento.

They welcomed back Pat Beverley who had missed the previous 14 games with a broken hand. Beverley played just the first 5:33 before taking his first break, but in that time, he buried a pair of 3-pointers, had a steal and an assist and pushed the tempo, helping lead the Rockets to a 25-11 lead at that point.

“I thought Patrick gave us a huge lift,” McHale said. “I just thought his defense was tremendous.”

Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and he’s now averaging 28.3 points and 14 rebounds per game against the Blazers. He also had three of the Rockets' 27 assists, the most the team has had since their Christmas day victory over the Spurs when they had 28 assists.

James Harden added 22 points and Omri Casspi came off the bench to score 15 points and grab eight rebounds. That's the most points for Casspi in his last ten games and the last time he had eight rebounds in a game was the first week of the season, also against Portland on Nov. 5.