NBA Game Summary - Portland at Houston
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points, Damian Lillard contributed 23 and the Portland Trail Blazers grabbed a 109-98 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard each netted 12 points for the Blazers, who bounced back from an overtime loss at Dallas on Saturday to win for the third time in their last four outings.
"Well especially on the heels of last night's game, I thought this was a real gritty win for us," said Portland coach Terry Stotts.
James Harden, who scored 44 points in Houston's 110-95 win over Portland on Dec. 22, poured in a season high-tying 45 points with nine rebounds and eight assists on Sunday. Josh Smith added 16 points as the Rockets had their two-game winning streak snapped.
"Against a good team like Portland, we gotta be on edge all four quarters," Harden said. "We have to play all four quarters as hard as we did in that second half."
McCollum's 3-pointer cut Portland's deficit to 27-26 after the first quarter.
Lillard, who was named to the Western Conference All-Star team earlier in the day to replace Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, capped a 12-3 run with a 3-pointer for a 51-40 Blazers lead late in the second.
Portland was up by 16 in the final minute before Harden nailed a 3 to cut Houston's deficit to 61-48 at halftime.
The Blazers continued to lead by double digits in the third until the Rockets went on a 15-4 run that closed the gap to 77-73. Smith, who tied a career high with four 3-pointers, buried a shot from deep to tie the game at 79-79 moments later. Portland led 81-80 entering the fourth.
Smith opened the fourth with a 3, then Leonard score the Blazers' next nine points as part of an 11-2 run. A Donatas Motiejunas dunk brought the Rockets within four with under two minutes left, but Nicolas Batum fired in a trey that gave the visitors a 103-96 lead with 1:26 remaining.