Posted November 15, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers aren't getting much bench production and their defense has to get better, but they're hard to beat when they're hitting from 3-point range.
The Houston Rockets found that out earlier this month.
Portland will try to avoid a fourth consecutive home loss Friday night when the Rockets open a three-game western swing.
It's still early, but the Trail Blazers (3-5) have to be concerned with a bench that's averaging a league-low 12.8 points. Their defense also has plenty of room for improvement, as their opponents are shooting 49.4 percent from the field.
Portland, though, has three of the NBA leaders in 3s made with Nicolas Batum (22), rookie Damian Lillard (20) and Wesley Matthews (18). Led by Lillard, who had team highs with five 3s and 22 points, the Trail Blazers hit a season-best 14 from long range in 27 attempts in Tuesday's 103-86 win at Sacramento.
Portland shot 32.2 percent (28 for 87) from beyond the arc while dropping its previous four contests. Ten of the 3s during that slide came in Saturday's 112-109 loss to San Antonio.
"This is a team that can make 3s. They take a lot of 3s (23.0 per game),'' Kings coach Keith Smart said. "If they're hot and making shots, you're going to have a tough cover."
The Rockets' perimeter defense was lacking in a 95-85 overtime home loss to Portland on Nov. 3. The Trail Blazers were 10 of 24 from beyond the arc in that contest, with Batum hitting four and Lillard and Matthews going a combined 5 of 13 to help Portland end a four-game skid in this series.
The Trail Blazers, losers of three straight at home to the Rockets, haven't dropped four in a row at the Rose Garden since Feb. 6-16.
Houston (4-4) makes its first trip to Portland this season after Wednesday's 100-96 win over New Orleans capped off its 2-1 homestand. The Rockets, though, know they need to put together a more complete effort during this trip after the Hornets outscored them by 15 in the final 24 minutes.
"We can't keep getting these double-digit leads in the first half and give them away,'' forward Chandler Parsons said. "We've got to come out there in the third quarter with energy and not allow that.''
The Rockets didn't look very energetic in the third quarter on Nov. 3 when they were outscored 27-18 en route to a home-opening defeat.
James Harden, who scored 24 points in that loss, might be looking forward to getting away for a few days. The Houston newcomer is averaging 33.3 points on 51.6 shooting in three road games compared to 22.2 points on 38.9 percent from the field at home.
The Rockets' bench could also play a crucial role during this trip. Houston's reserves finished with 32 points on Wednesday, with Marcus Morris (13) and Toney Douglas (12) doing the most damage.
Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge did plenty of damage in Houston earlier this month, finishing with a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds.
J.J. Hickson had 12 boards for Portland in that game while Rockets center Omer Asik grabbed 15. Asik (12.9) and Hickson (11.9) are among the NBA rebounding leaders.
BEST OF MAXIM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MA
Outside of Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard — the point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers — is one of the most talked about rookies and candidates for Rookie of the Year. Not only does Lillard bring it on the court, but he also is clutch off the court; just check out the birthday gift he [...]The post Damian Lillard Surprises Mom With New Escalade For Her Birthday (Photo) appeared...
Lillard, shooting, save the day
The Headline: The Trail Blazers finally find win No. 3 on the back of Damian Lillard, topping the Kings 103-86
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Sacramento Kings
When: 10:00 ET, Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Where: Sleep Train Arena (Sacramento)
Officials: Dan Crawford, Bennie Adams, Josh Tiven
1. Damian Lillard takes control
It has been a very tough season so far for the Portland Trail Blazers. Prior to the game against the Sacramento Kings, their first 7 games have all come against playoff contending teams. Those 7 opponents had a combined record of 31-20. The Blazers were 2-5 at that point and only Charlotte, Cleveland, and Toronto had allowed more points per game.
One thing that I remember hearing...
An early-season rematch
The Portland Trail Blazers avoided becoming the Western Conference’s worst team in Wednesday’s win against the Sacramento Kings, and a victory against the Houston Rockets would help establish momentum heading into an easier part of the schedule.
Matchup: Portland (3-5) vs. Houston Rockets (4-4)
Venue: Rose Garden Arena
Time: 7:00 PM PT
Date: Friday, Nov...
Nicolas Batum had a career-high 35 points, rookie Damian Lillard sparked a late comeback and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Houston Rockets 119-117 in overtime Friday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points for Portland, including a tiebreaking free throw and key turnaround jumper in the extra session. Lillard, a first-round pick out of Weber State, scored 16 of the Trail Blazers...
I moved to Portland 18 months ago and it has been one of the best decisions of my life. Since moving here, I have enjoyed discovering the great culture that Portland has to offer. Last weekend, I went to a Portland Winterhawks game and my experience was so great, I really wanted to write about my time there. The game was held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a great old arena...
PORTLAND -- Overtime victories over the Houston Rockets are getting to be habit for the Portland Trail Blazers. Nicolas Batum tied his career high with 35 points and rookie Damian Lillard put up 18 of his season-high 27 points after intermission as Portland upended Houston 119-117 in overtime Friday night at the Rose Garden. It was the second overtime win over the Rockets in...
PORTLAND -- Nicolas Batum scored a career-high 35 points and rookie Damian Lillard put up 18 of his season-high 27 points in the second half as Portland upended Houston 119-117 in overtime Friday night at the Rose Garden. LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points for the Blazers (4-5), including a turnaround 10-footer with 37 seconds left in overtime that provided a 119-116 lead. Batum...
(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)
Line of the Night: Portland may be struggling, but Nicolas Batum (2.86) is not. Thanks to a monster 35 points (5 threes, 13-19 from the field), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 blocks, Batum has climbed to #4 overall on Give Me The Rock’s Fantasy Basketball Player Rater (and that Top 3 includes the injured Kyle Lowry). Of course, Batum also...
SACRAMENTO -- There's no doubting the skills of Portland Trail Blazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard. As he showed the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, he is the real deal. Lillard scored 22 points to lead five Blazers in double figures, and Portland ended a four-game losing streak by hammering the Kings 103-86 before a disappointed and sparse crowd of 10,153 at Sleep Train...
Damian Lillard had 22 points and nine assists to help the Portland Trail Blazers stop a four-game losing streak with a 103-86 victory over the short-handed Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
Portland used a strong third quarter to build its lead to 16 points and pushed the cushion to 22 early in the fourth. The Blazers outrebounded the Kings 44-33 and connected on 14 of 27 attempts...