Posted November 04, 2012 on AP on Fox
The way LaMarcus Aldridge was playing on Saturday night, Damian Lillard knew the Rockets would focus on the Trail Blazers' star in overtime. When the rookie started getting more open looks, he delivered. Lillard scored 20 points, including eight in overtime, and the Trail Blazers slowed down James Harden in a 95-85 win over Houston. ''(Aldridge) had it rolling, he was dominating the game offensively, and I just wanted to make sure I was in the position to knock the shots down,'' Lillard said. ''(Aldridge) got going and I was able to get easier shots.'' Aldridge finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two blocks for the Trail Blazers. All but four of Lillard's points came in the second half. He also had nine assists and six rebounds. Lillard and Nicolas Batum each made a 3 to help Portland open an 87-81 lead in the extra session. Harden then made a pair of free throws before Lillard converted a reverse layup. His second 3 of overtime pushed Portland's lead to 93-85 with 1:25 remaining. ''He made big shots for us, and that's what we need from him,'' Aldridge said of the first-round pick. Harden led the Rockets with 24 points in his home debut, but he wasn't as dominant as he was in the first two games. He scored 37 and a career-high 45 points after he was acquired in a deal with Oklahoma City last week. The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year signed a five-year, $80 contract extension on Wednesday. Batum had 17 points, Wesley Matthews scored 16 and J.J. Hickson added nine points and 12 rebounds for Portland. Jeremy Lin had 13 points and seven assists in his home debut for the Rockets, who lost for the first time this season. ''It wasn't the prettiest game today and I think both sides struggled to hit shots,'' Lin said. ''That's the way it goes sometimes.'' The game was tied with 1:17 to go before Lin made a layup while being fouled by Hickson. He sunk the free throw to give Houston an 81-78 lead. Matthews tied it again with a 3 with just under a minute left. He also guarded Harden most of the night. ''When you put up 45 the night before, it kind of wears you out,'' Matthews said. ''We are friends, but when it's tipoff time there are no friends.'' Houston had a chance to win it in regulation, but Portland knocked the ball out of Harden's hands seconds before the buzzer. ''It was good defense,'' he said. ''I just lost the ball.'' Portland led by five early in the fourth quarter before Marcus Morris hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Houston a 69-68 lead. ''We didn't get quality shots,'' Houston coach Kevin McHale said. ''We got to get better at that.'' Dozens of fake beards made to resemble Harden's trademark look dotted the sellout crowd of 18,140. The Rockets were selling them at the team store on Saturday night to take advantage of the excitement created by their newest acquisition. Houston's mascot Clutch even got in on the fun during a break in the third quarter and donned a fake beard, too. Harden said he tweaked an ankle in the game and it slowed him a bit. ''But I don't like to make excuses,'' he said. ''I had opportunities to make plays and to make shots and I just didn't.'' Portland used a 12-4 run at the beginning of the second half to tie it at 49 as the Rockets struggled to find a rhythm in the third quarter. Harden didn't score after halftime until he converted a three-point play with just over four minutes remaining in the third, giving Houston a 58-57 lead. The Trail Blazers answered with seven straight points. An alley-oop dunk by Morris got Houston rolling again and it trailed 64-63 entering the fourth quarter. Harden grabbed a microphone and welcomed fans to the game before the national anthem, and got the team going by scoring Houston's first six points. He had 10 at the end of the first quarter to help the Rockets lead 19-17. Houston opened the second quarter with a 10-0 run. The Trail Blazers' first points in the second came on a 3 by Matthews less than eight minutes before halftime. That was the first of seven consecutive points for Portland before Lin got Houston going again by hitting a nifty one-handed layup and the foul shot. The Rockets led 45-37 at halftime. Notes Omer Asik, who had a career-high 19 rebounds on Friday, had 15 rebounds for Houston and Morris finished with 13 points. ... Chandler Parsons had 12 rebounds for the Rockets. ... Aldridge has scored at least 20 points in each of his last nine regular-season games against Houston.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Keys to a NICE Trail Blazers win Saturday night

Fear The Beard? Not PDX The Portland Trail Blazers have impressed early in the 2012-13 season, and that trend was no different on the road against the Houston Rockets. Both teams are now 2-1 on the season, but only the Blazers escaped Saturday night with a hard-fought victory. The final score was 95-85 in Portland’s favor, and there were a handful of key elements to the victory...

After 3 Games, A Look At The Portland Trail Blazers

Many, including myself have said the Portland Trail Blazers would not be very good this season.  This may still prove to be true.  But if nothing else, the Blazers may become a team of intrigue.  Through three games, the Blazers have defeated the Lakers, Rockets, and played a solid game against the Oklahoma City, narrowly losing to the Thunder in their home opener to begin the...

Jeremy Lin Makes One Incredibly Cute Bambi on Halloween (Photo)

Is Jeremy Lin overrated? Will his star fall back to earth in Houston? Can he mesh with the Rockets and continue his run of improbable success? No one knows, but this much is sure: Tons of people love Lin's story, and that story got 10 times cuter when Lin posted a photo of himself from a Halloween of yesteryear this week. Lin apparently went trick-or-treating...

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks prediction and preview

One rebuilding squad meets another The Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks have split the last 15 regular season meetings eight games to seven in the Mavs’ favor. Three of those games have gone into at least one overtime, and all of them have been decided by an average of just five points. Matchup: Portland (2-1) @ Dallas Mavericks (2-1) Venue: American Airlines Center...

James Harden’s Face Shaved Into Back Of Head Is Scary As Can Be

This haircut of a member of the Red Rowdies (a group of Houston Rockets hardcore fans) is extremely frightening and wonderful. Check out the super fan’s haircut which is one of the best tributes to James Harden that you will most likely ever see. I am a bit confused as to the interesting changes that the barber made to Harden’s mug, but when all is said and done the beard will...

Rockets Need Consistency From Role Players

The city of Houston is buzzing. With the fanfare that always seems to accompany Jeremy Lin since his anointment last year, and the acquisition of James Harden followed by two monster games, The Rockets have not garnered this type of attention in years. Amidst all of the excitement, several Rockets role players are ready to [...]

Catching Up With Chandler Parsons

After netting 6 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in a win over the Atlanta Hawks, Chandler Parsons took a second to discuss the role players on the Houston Rockets roster. sr_adspace_id = 1000001551307; sr_adspace_width = 728; sr_adspace_height = 90; [...]

Trail Blazers-Rockets Preview

James Harden has put on quite a show in each of his first two games with the Houston Rockets. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is only starting to get comfortable. Harden looks to continue his remarkable play Saturday night as the undefeated Rockets open their home schedule against the Portland Trail Blazers, who haven't experienced much success during their last several...

What I Learned Last Night: Nov 3, 2012

(one thing I've learned is I need to find a photo of Harden in a Rockets jersey)Every night (well - perhaps not EVERY night) I'll be firing up my NBA League Pass and scanning that night's box scores to bring you, my beloved reader, what I learned from the NBA that night.  Because the internet was invented for knee-jerk, totally premature, irrational reactions to things...

Rockets 109, Hawks 102

ATLANTA -- James Harden picked up where he left off after his eye-popping 37-point debut against the Pistons on Halloween, scoring 45 points to lead Houston Rockets to a 109-102 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Jeremy Lin added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Omer Asik had a career-high 19 rebounds. Josh Smith led the Hawks' frantic fourth-quarter comeback, giving the Hawks an...

Damian Lillard: The Best Rookie Few Know About

Prior to this year’s NBA draft most people didn’t know who Damian Lillard was. He was a two star recruit out of high school and played at Weber State for four years. Nothing really special in that, but wherever he played he was a worthy scorer and passer. He led the NCAA in scoring his senior year with 24.5 points a game. Although he hasn’t always competed against the stiffest...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.