HOUSTON — Coming into a night a Trail Blazers were guaranteed to be shorthanded opposite a Houston Rockets. All-Star energy forward LaMarcus Aldridge was ill and watched a game from a group hotel in Houston, and starting core Robin Lopez was on a dais in jeans and a expel on his damaged right hand.
The ascending conflict incited into Mission Impossible when James Harden erupted for 31 points in a initial dual buliding and a Rockets took a 20-point lead into a halftime locker room.
After unresolved around in a opening quarter, a Blazers never challenged a Rockets en track to a 110-95 detriment Monday night during a Toyota Center in Houston.
Harden finished with a season-high 44 points on 14-for-26 sharpened and combined 7 assists and 5 steals to lead Houston. As a team, a Rockets shot 47 percent from a building and knocked down 13 three-pointers.
“Defensively, we didn’t give many insurgency in a initial half and they took advantage of that,” Blazers manager Terry Stotts said. “Offensively, we incited a round over too many and unequivocally weren’t means to mountain any kind of legitimate comeback.”
The Blazers gave adult a season-high 37 points in a initial quarter, though trailed by only 7 streamer into a second interjection clever starts from Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard, who finished his second start of a deteriorate in place of Aldridge.
Leonard scored a Blazers’ initial 5 points of a diversion and finished a opening entertain with eight. Lillard had 11 points in a initial entertain before a Rockets invulnerability zeroed in on a All-Star indicate ensure tying him to 7 points a rest of a night.
With Aldridge out of a lineup a Blazers ran fewer set plays and attempted to beget points in a upsurge of a offense, though a offense stalled though a personality to change a floor.
“The shots stopped going in for us. We attempted to go into some round shade stuff,” Lillard said. “Obviously though (Aldridge), they only boxed me in. Every time we came off a collect and hurl they were promulgation dual guys during me and a assistance side was all a approach opposite a floor. So that finished it tough for me offensively as distant as perplexing to measure and perplexing to attack.”
While a Rockets invulnerability tranquil Lillard, Harden sliced into a paint during will, possibly sketch fouls or finishing during a rim. He scored 19 points in a initial entertain and had 31 during halftime, display because he’s in a early-season MVP discussion. No matter whom a Blazers put on him, Harden finished them pay, sketch strike and knocking down 12 of 13 giveaway throws or blazing defenders from stretch on 4-for-9 shooting from over a arc.
“Give him credit, he played really well, though we suspicion we could have finished a improved pursuit on a round and with a help,” Stotts pronounced of Harden’s performance. “He got to a rim, got to a giveaway chuck line, and-ones. We gave adult 5 or 6 and-ones in a initial half. They were some-more aggressive. we suspicion we were on a heels many of a initial half.”
The Blazers incited a round over 11 times in a opening dual buliding heading to 21 points for a Rockets. The easy buckets fueled a sole out throng during Toyota Center inspired for punish opposite a group that separated a Rockets from final year’s playoffs.
With a locus pulsing, a Rockets incited adult a defensive pressure. Houston hounded a flitting lanes happy to play on a fringe though fear of an interior scoring participation for Portland.
“Being out there we feel how tough it is though him when a group doesn’t have to respect him being on a floor,” Lillard pronounced of personification though his All Star reflection in Aldridge, who missed a diversion with an top respiratory illness.
Despite a messy initial half, Portland finished a run in a third quarter, outscoring Houston 14-3 and pulling within 84-70 before a Rockets answered.
Patrick Beverley finished a pushing layup, Harden drew a tainted and strike dual giveaway throws, afterwards Harden assisted a Donatas Motiejunas jumper before adding a three-pointer on a subsequent trip. When Jason Terry strike a 3 with 25 seconds left in a quarter, a lead was behind adult to 20 and Stotts was scheming to dull his dais for a final quarter.
“I played Dame a whole third entertain anticipating that we could maybe make a run. We cut to 15, 14. we suspicion if we were going to make a pierce that was a time to do it,” Stotts said. “Obviously meditative about tomorrow being a fourth (game) in 5 nights was a consideration.”
Lillard played only dual mins in a final entertain as Stotts let a finish of his dais tighten out a game. Leonard played a whole second half and finished with 13 points, and CJ McCollum put together his strongest tour given returning from injury, scoring 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting.
Dwight Howard had 16 points and 13 rebounds for a Rockets, and Corey Brewer combined 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals in a stimulating entrance for a Rockets after entrance over in a trade from a Minnesota.
The Blazers interpretation their four-game Western Conference tour Tuesday during Oklahoma City, and for Lillard a possibility to redeem Monday’s detriment can’t come shortly enough.
“That’s a beauty of it,” Lillard said. “You got a tough one tonight and tomorrow we got an event to rebound back.”