January 11, 2018 / 4:17 AM / in 9 months

No Harden, no problem as Rockets edge Trail Blazers

Chris Paul and Eric Gordon combined for 67 points to lift the Houston Rockets to a 121-112 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at Toyota Center in Houston.

Paul scored 37 points and dished out 11 assists while Gordon added 30 points for the Rockets (29-11), who won for the third time in five games without James Harden in the lineup. Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer at 31.3 points per game, missed his fifth straight game with a hamstring strain.

Damian Lillard scored 29 points with eight assists and CJ McCollum chipped in 24 points for the Trail Blazers (22-19).

Gordon and Paul each scored 13 points to carry the Rockets to a 55-45 halftime lead. McCollum had 14 for the Blazers at the break.

Houston increased the margin to 69-57 early in the third quarter. The Rockets’ edge was 86-77 heading into the final period.

With Gordon scoring six straight points and Gerald Green burying a 3-pointer, the Rockets mounted a 103-89 lead with 6:18 left. Lillard scored nine straight points and the Blazers used an 11-0 run to close to within 103-100 with 3:45 remaining.

Clint Capela’s dunk gave Houston a 107-102 edge with 2:44 to play. Lillard split a pair of free throws to cut it to 107-103 with 2:28 left. Capela made 1 of 2 at the line for a 108-103 Rockets’ advantage with 2:18 to go.

Portland’s Ed Davis sank 1 of 2 free throws to trim the difference to 108-104 with 1:59 to play.

Paul’s trey upped Houston’s lead to 111-104, but Lillard answered with a driving layup to make it 111-106 with 1:38 remaining. Paul’s scoop shot upped the margin to 113-106 with 1:13 left.

The Blazers got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

Gordon scored eight points to help stake Houston to a 25-19 lead after one quarter.

The Rockets increased their advantage to 34-24 four minutes into the second quarter. The difference was 51-37 after five straight points by Paul.

—Field Level Media

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