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Portland’s come-from-behind win leaves it one victory from second round

Apr 28, 2014, 2:34 AM EDT

Houston Rockets v Portland Trailblazers - Game Four Getty Images

As a fan of entertaining basketball (if not defense), I don’t want this series to end — Portland and Houston are evenly matched and an interesting contrast in styles that leads to thrilling games. Rockets GM Daryl Morey on twitter called this game four games in this series “coin flips.”

Yet it all could end Wednesday.

For three quarters Sunday Houston was an offensive force — they shot 52.6 percent overall and hit 9-of-19 from three, they put up 84 points, and everything Chandler Parsons threw up went in (11-of-15 shooting in the first three). The Rockets led the way pretty much in the entire way as Portland just did . They seemed in control.

But in the third the LaMarcus Aldridge got it going with 13 points — despite Omer Asik and a parade of longer defenders on him h. Then Damian Lillard ended the quarter with a three. Suddenly it was just a five-point game going into the fourth and the fans in Portland were into it and loud.

In the fourth quarter the Blazers got stops — Portland shot 36.8 percent, Dwight Howard and James Harden combined to shot 5-of-12. Portland wasn’t an offensive juggernaut but thanks to 8 points from Nicolas Batum (who was “guarded” by Harden) it was a tied game and we had overtime. Again.

There Batum kept scoring (5 points) and Portland hit four of the five shots they took. Houston made some shots too, but the Blazers were hitting their shots and their free throws.

When the final buzzer eventually sounded it was 123-120 Portland.

The Trail Blazers have a 3-1 lead and a can put the series away with a win Wednesday in Houston.

Portland did it with balance — LaMarcus Aldridge’s 29 points led the way (he was 6-of-11 from the midrange, killing the Rockets from there) but four Blazers had 20 or more: Damian Lillard had 23 points and 8 assists, Wesley Matthews scored 21 points, and Nicolas Batum added 25.

The Rockets had 28 points from James Harden (his most efficient outing of the playoffs taking just 21 shots), 26 from Chandler Parsons and 23 from Dwight Howard (who also had 14 rebounds). Those three made plays late in the fourth quarter, when Portland had taken the lead — Houston got stops on three straight possessions thanks to a couple blocks from Howard. They just couldn’t get stops consistently all night.

Their big story again was Troy Daniels, the rookie out o VCU who spent most of the season in the D-League — he had 17 points and was 4-of-5 from deep. He is playing well enough that he’s gotten under Mo Williams’ skin.

But it wasn’t enough to save the Rockets.

Now Houston has its backs against the wall as they keep learning the hard lessons of the playoffs — about working together as a team, about doing the little things — that if they don’t master by Wednesday could be the end of their season.

  1. RavenzGunnerz - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    - This portland team is surely fun to watch…
    – This houston team is surely fun to watch…
    – This OKC team is surely fun to watch…
    – This Clippers team, Golden State Team, Dallas Team, Miami Team, Washington Team is surely fun to watch…

    I’ve heard people saying those things lately. This goes against all the narrative recently that NBA has gotten boring because of lack of low post scoring talent. Let me tell you what, this is much much better stuff that I have seen since I started following the NBA back then.

    Games are fast paced, high scoring, full of highlights and drama. I love where the NBA is heading. Damian Lillard is only in his 2nd year of the NBA, and there is a kid making stories from the D-League. You are witnessing the golden age of basketball, what you should do is appreciate and sick back and enjoy.

    Sorry Barkely, Gary Peyton, Kobe, etc… back then is back then. We’ve moved on.

    • musician0785 - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:49 AM

      Kobe played LAST YEAR….he last won a title about 3 years ago…since when is that “back then” oh and it’s Barkley* and Payton*

      • RavenzGunnerz - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:51 AM

        Meh, Kobe was complaining on how “back in his days….”

        basically anybody who complains about today’s fast paced basketball is bad is wrong.

    • kb2408 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:09 AM

      “Golden age of basketball.” Let’s not get carried away. You must be like 19 yrs old. I’m not complaining though…this has been a wildly entertaining series. I love watching Lillard play. In the words of Stephen A. Smith, “This kid is special!”

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      Basketball will always be entertaining to watch, but I don’t think high scoring necessarily mean more excitement. I actually prefer watching good defensive games where scoring is a struggle, each bucket is worth more.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      “Games are fast paced, high scoring, full of highlights and drama.”

      Sounds like the 1980s, the true golden age of the NBA.

    • bigmeechy74 - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      How do you misspell “Barkley” and “Payton?”

    • trevor123698 - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:22 AM

      the golden age was the 1980’s. problem was certain teams were so much better than the rest that it was obvious who’d be there at the end of it. im born 1989 but ive seen every 1980s finals on youtube.

  2. seattlesuperchronic - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:33 AM

    Batum has such a smooth flow to his game. He looks like he’s moving at a sloth like pace but manages to get by defenders. I’m super impressed by him. I would love to have Mo Williams coming the bench for my team, he’s got skills and he hustles. This Blazer team is great, they play like a team and that’s fun to watch. ¡Viva los Playoffs!

    • RavenzGunnerz - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:52 AM

      Not sure if your name suggests good or bad things for the Sonics… but hope you get your team back there in Seattle…

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        Definitely good unless you’re a narrow minded hater.

  3. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:58 AM

    28 points from James Harden (his most efficient outing of the playoffs taking just 21 shots)
    3-11 from 3-land

    You really had to stretch it to say something nice about him.

  4. showtime1911 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    Jeremy Lin cost us this game. He is terrible.

    • msuspartan89 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      racist.

      what about beverly getting cherry picked?

      • au1978 - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        Calling him racist is stupid. And in case you didn’t know, Pat Beverley was sick and had a 102 fever yesterday. I used to defend Jeremy against his many haters, but seriously, I’m just not seeing him help the team a whole lot at this point.

    • willkill4caffeine - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      Jeremy Lin is also a big reason you guys weren’t swept in this series. Two sides to every coin. Harden is costing you more than Lin, “only” 21 shots. I’m sorry, but getting 28 points on 21 shots is not even REMOTELY impressive. Sure, he’s skilled, but run & chuck isn’t an offensive recipe that promotes success.

    • bigmeechy74 - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      The most inexcusable thing in basketball is not knowing when a dribbler is coming up from behind… That turnover was AAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH

    • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      WHAT?! Dwight Howard’s awful post-ups cost Houston the game. I blame McHale; he’s shown in the series that the Harden/Howard pick & roll is devastating yet he never runs it and instead has Dwight Howard post up 14 straight possessions in the 4th quarter and overtime. Awful coaching.

  5. billtetley53 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Oh great, Pissy eyes cryer musician is back, ugh!

    And KB the dope quoting Stephen A. Smith…..somehow that doesnt surprise me.
    Who are you to call out someone for “being 19″ , when you swoon like a middle school girl over Kobe?
    How can you not see your hypocrisy? By the way, where were yo lalers fans after the Rocket win? You only come out when they lose. Again not surprised at KB, thats SOP for him.

    KB, North Hollywood……still no answer from you on that, you CS!?

    • loungefly74 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      big difference between someone admiring their favorite player and calling this the “golden age” of basketball. if you dont get that, not sure what to tell ya, bill. sheesh.

      as far as “coming out when the rockets lose”…ehh…not making it a big deal. don’t care actually, but yeah, i do chuckle seeing Dwight lose. HEHE.

      oh…your counter point…the lakers had a few bad seasons…uh…right…right….well, in the long run, Laker fans have enjoyed what they have given us. not too many other teams can say the same. bill, you know how many teams have won the title since 1980? 9…just 9. Lakers have won 10 times since then…gone to 16 finals in that stretch. now i picked 1980 because that is usually the consensus on the start of the golden age…and when i started to be a fan. so…think about what your saying…you are ragging on the team with the most success the past 30 years. do you really think a few years of futility is the end all be all for Laker fans? well, only if they are 8 years old or something. that said, Bill…don’t pout too much. I don’t want to see Laker hater fans in a constant state of disbelief and doubt. wow…you pay attention to a game only to follow your hatred for a team. makes sense. i’m sure your parents are really proud of ya, Bill. BTW, who is your team? Obviously, Laker fans let it be known who they root for…but what teams do haters root for? funny how they never mention that. and what a strange philosophy…to have your basis of the game be built on hate. very odd. sounds like someone’s bitter…and mad about their “shortcomings” in life. hahaha. sorry…its just too easy schooling haters. your foundation is weak…your platform is limited. yeah, it’s a fact, Bill. say what you want…but we know…AND you know…youre a sad hater.

      • billtetley53 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        Lounge, lounge,lounge. Why are you always the ladt one to catch on? Everyone else I annoyed figured out who I was because of the 53 in my moniker, but not you Corky…

        1.) The point I was making was that KB was calling someone a 19 year old, when hes 40 and acts like a 13 year old girl! Not the golden age of basketball. “Sheesh”
        2.) This ties into your ” hating”. You Lakers fans sure cry when “trolls” take pleasure in laker losses, but its ok for you to do it to others, because DH hurt your feelings… ok, gotcha. Hypocrite.
        3.)Your team has stunk for the last 4 years running. Sweeps in 2 playoff series, last year in the 1St round. They just had their worst season since tje move to LA, but yeah, lets go back to 1980, because it fits your argument better. Point is, youre just likePackers fans. We are supposed to just listen to your garbage when they are good, but when they stink you dust off the trophies and we are deemed trolls for giving you crap about stinking. Youre a pathetic fanbase, and deserve all the razzing you get.
        Your team stnks now and wull for quite awhile, 2010 and before has no bearing on 2014 and beyond.
        4.) I follow a player, not a team.
        5.)I dont hat the lakers, i cant stand the fanbase, big difference. You didnt “school anyone”- ugh, people still use that term? You use the stupid, hacky ” shortcomings line t
        oo, all the markings of the unoriginal hack you are. Bitter? Hardly. I just dont tolerate loud mouth, know nothing, hypocrites such as yourself very well.

        Have fun watching tthe lakers stink for years to come…..

      • loungefly74 - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        Sorry, Bill. i’m not into Numerology and didnt know if 53 meant the number of times people say your ugly on a daily basis. my bad.

        1)”Who are you to call out someone for “being 19″ , when you swoon like a middle school girl over Kobe?”…again, Bill you missed the point. not surprised. KB’s admiration is not acting like a 13 year…WHILE a 19 year old might think this is the golden age…SHEESH, Bill. really?

        2)Hypocrite? oh yeah…because laker fans…well, me…spend soooo much time talking trash on other players. right. yeah, i made a few comments on DH’s misery BUT i dont make it my entire platorm to just hate all the time. I spend my time celebrating my team…the Lakers…its what REAl fans do. big difference, Bill. SHEESH. what the heck is wrong with ya? ya dont see the difference? good golly.

        3) 4 years…again. how convenient for you to stop there, Bill. yeah, poor example, Bill. Lame, in fact. yeah, why not go back? i’m mean, we are fans of the game every year, right? also, do you expect a team to win it EVERY year? who does that? heck…winnning just 10% of the titles is incredible…but you have this vision that a team should win it every year…and if not, they stink? you sir are not only delusional…but a nimrod. congratulations.

        4) HAHAHAHA! follow a player? REALLY? oh man…well, that explains it. only kids, girls, and non-sports fans follow players and not teams! hahaha. oh Bill, do you realize how lame you are? you don’t? well…it a lot…and even more so with your explanation. ahahha. i’m sorry. that is too funny. you officially have ZERO credibility now. ya see, Bill real fans follow a team and they stick with it. huh, explains why you are not concerned with the past 30 years…because you are not a real NBA fan. oh man…this is too good.

        5) yeah…people say “schooling”. get used to it…because you will be schooled all your life, junior.

        well, here is a history lesson as it has taught us…im sure at some point the Lakers will be all right…but thanks for you concern, BIll. sheesh.

      • willkill4caffeine - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        My gosh, this back-and-forth was painful to read. Literally, it hurt. I just want to point this out lounge; the following two quotes are both from one of your rants.

        “because laker fans…well, me…spend soooo much time talking trash on other players. right. yeah, i made a few comments on DH’s misery BUT i dont make it my entire platorm to just hate all the time”.

        …followed a few sentences later with…

        “Bill, do you realize how lame you are? you don’t? well…it’s a lot…and even more so with your explanation. ahahha. i’m sorry. that is too funny. you officially have ZERO credibility now.”.

        Basically, I’m pointing this out to save everyone else the misery of reading this “trash talk” you two have going on. You contradict yourself numerous times within two or three sentences of one another….and you’re talking about someone else having no credibility?

        Cam we please get back to talking about PLAYOFF BASKETALL. The petty keyboard warrior and internet muscle routine is just sad.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        @willkill4caffeine…commenting a few times about DH’s (Rockets) struggle versus having your entire platform being about hating a team is a huge difference. yeah, i am talking smack about DH but it is not my focus on this site. in fact, i say a majority of my posts are of the positive kind. i’m talking trash to Bill because that is all he does especially to laker fans. He was talking trash on my buddy, KB2408…so I will back up my fellow laker fan. simple as that.

        Also…you are comparing two quotes with entirely different basis’… my ridicule for a person who only likes a player and not a team…and my disbelief of someone who spends 100% hating/trolling/etc…there is no contradiction there.

  6. bougin89 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Serious question: Would you rather have Damian Lilliard or James Harden for a playoff run?

    • innovativethinking87 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      Without a doubt Damian Lillard. These kid is something special.

      • bougin89 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        I’d go with Lillard too.

    • willkill4caffeine - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Absolutely Lilliard. Unlike Harden, in my opinion, he’s capable of taking over a game without launching a ludicrous number of shots. He also makes his teammates better, which is another cliche you wouldn’t use when talking about Harden.

  7. realfootballfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    What do the Rockets do now? It’s clear as day that Harden is not a lead dog, but they are paying him like he’s Kobee Bryant. His disappearing act two years ago in the Finals was not a fluke.

  8. realfootballfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Also, with the Clippers dealing with their situation, the Spurs on the verge of being put into an impossible situation, and OKC’s series with Memphis still up in the air, Portland might have just stepped to the forefront as a favorite for the Finals. I still think they depend too much on jump shooting and got a favorable matchup in Houston, but with these other developments, they can definitely beat the Mavs, OKC or Memphis, and Golden State if those series play out like they’re heading.

  9. au1978 - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    The stupidest thing for players to do is to add insult to an already upset team when the series isn’t over. Williams probably should have saved his taunt for AFTER Portland won the series. Now he just gave an uninspired looking team another reason to rally.

    • mikerome64 - Apr 30, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      If the Rockets need artificial motivation to win a must game they should just quit and go home.

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