Posted November 17, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Portland Trail Blazers
Weber State Wildcats
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' last 21 points and finished with a career-high 27.
James Harden had 29 points for the Rockets, who led by as many as 15 before falling behind in the final quarter. Chandler Parsons added 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Portland won its second consecutive game while narrowly avoiding a fourth straight loss at the Rose Garden.
Lillard made a tying 3-pointer with 3:25 left in overtime. After Omer Asik hit two foul shots for Houston, Lillard connected on another jumper to tie it at 116.
Houston committed a turnover on the other end and Aldridge went 1 for 2 at the line before making a turnaround jumper to extend the lead to 119-116 with 36.8 seconds left.
Harden made a free throw with 1.4 seconds to go but Houston couldn't corral his intentional miss, and the game ended.
Houston was kicking off a three-game West Coast road swing after going 2-1 at home despite some off-the-court distractions.
Coach Kevin McHale has been away since Saturday dealing with a personal matter. Royce White, a first-round draft pick, is feuding with the Rockets over how they have accommodated his anxiety disorder, and is not with the team either.
The Blazers, who snapped a four-game losing streak with a 103-86 victory over Sacramento on Wednesday, leaned heavily on Batum's outside shooting and Aldridge under the basket until Lillard took over with 4:29 left in regulation and Portland trailing 103-98. The 6-foot-3 point guard hit six free throws, a 3-pointer, a driving layup and then put the Blazers up 111-108 with a jumper after faking Jeremy Lin up in the air.
Marcus Morris then nailed a 3-pointer for Houston with 10 second left to send the game to overtime.
The Blazers struggled defensively all season, allowing 100 points or more in six of their first nine games. They entered having allowed opponents to shoot 49.6 percent.
Mindful of Portland's defensive deficiencies, the Rockets pushed the ball in transition. The Rockets had a 17-1 fast-break point advantage in the first half and they shot 55 percent before the break.
Houston led 51-35 in the first half and was up 13 in third quarter. But Batum scored 14 points in the period, including nine in a row.
NOTES: Portland beat the Rockets 95-85 in overtime on Nov. 3 in Houston. Aldridge had 27 points and 11 rebounds in that game. . Harden is averaging 32.3 points in four road games this season.
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