EditorsNote: delete “the” in 3rd graf
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 49 points as the Portland Trail Blazers controlled the tempo throughout their 117-107 victory over the host Houston Rockets on Wednesday at Toyota Center.
Lillard posted 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while McCollum added 24 points and six assists to lead a Portland attack that featured all five scorers tallying double figures.
The Rockets lost for the third time in four games, falling behind late in the first quarter and laboring in vain to close the gap. The Rockets did string together three consecutive 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter to pull to within 105-100 only for McCollum and Carmelo Anthony to respond with back-to-back corner 3s that allowed Portland to reclaim control.
Anthony, playing in Houston for the first time since the Rockets released him early last season, posted a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Portland center Hassan Whiteside also had a double-double (18 points, 18 rebounds) while Kent Bazemore added 12 points, nine boards and sound defense on Rockets guard James Harden, who scored a season-low 13 points on just 3-for-12 shooting
Russell Westbrook produced a triple-double of 31 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists while Eric Gordon scored 20 points off the Houston bench. Ben McLemore added 17 points and Clint Capela a double-double (14 points, 18 rebounds), but with Harden taking just 12 shots, Houston lacked the offensive thrust to keep pace with the Trail Blazers.
Balanced scoring carried Portland early and enabled the Trail Blazers to carve a working margin bridging the first and second periods. Portland flipped a two-point deficit late in the opening quarter into a 39-31 advantage with just over nine minutes remaining in the first half as five different Trail Blazers scored during that 15-5 run.
Portland didn’t shoot particularly well prior to the intermission, connecting on just 42.9 percent of its field goals, but the shared approach kept the Rockets scrambling defensively. The Trail Blazers closed the first half with an 11-6 push keyed by a Lillard corner 3, second-chance baskets from Whiteside and Anthony, and two Lillard free throws that gave Portland a 60-47 lead at the break.
—Field Level Media