Portland gets 95-85 OT win over Rockets
- Article by: KRISTIE RIEKEN
- Associated Press
- November 3, 2012 - 10:04 PM
HOUSTON - Rookie Damian Lillard scored 20 points, including eight in overtime, and the Portland Trail Blazers slowed down James Harden in a 95-85 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.
Lillard and Nicolas Batum each made a 3 to help Portland open an 87-81 lead early in overtime. 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.
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 in his first two games 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.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Wesley Matthews had 16 points, and J.J. Hickson added nine points and 12 rebounds.
Jeremy Lin had 13 points and seven assists in his home debut for the Rockets, who lost for the first time this season.
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.
Houston had a chance to win it in regulation, but Portland knocked the ball out of Harden's hands seconds before the buzzer.
Portland led by five early in the fourth quarter before Marcus Morris hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Houston a 69-68 lead.
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.
Portland used a 12-4 run at the beginning of the second half to tie it at 49-49 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 quarter, 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 straight 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 had 15 rebounds for Houston and Morris finished with 13 points.
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