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Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin key as Rockets extend series against Trail Blazers

May 1, 2014, 1:41 AM EDT

Houston survives to play another day.

Facing elimination in what had tight series with Portland — one where the Rockets kept getting outplayed in the fourth quarter — Houston finally closed out a game with authority.

Houston won 108-98 and now trail the Blazers 3-2 in the best-of-seven. Game 6 is Friday night in Portland — that is where the Blazers need to close it out. Go to a Game 7 back in Houston and anything can happen.

There will be a Game 6 due to Jeremy Lin and Dwight Howard.

Lin provided the offensive spark on a night James Harden was 5-of-15 shooting (although he did have 8 points in the fourth quarter). Lin had 21 points and was a huge spark off the bench — that included a couple deep threes with a hand in his face to shut down Portland rallies in the fourth quarter. He played his best playoff game ever.

Dwight Howard has been a beast all series and he was again here — 22 points and 14 rebounds. More than that, Howard was key to the Rockets new defensive strategy of doubling LaMarcus Aldridge hard when he got the ball (which worked).

He was at the heart of the runs the Rockets made — there was a 15-0 run in the second quarter, when at one point the lead reached 17 points.

But as they have all series, the Trail Blazers had answers. Wesley Mathews had 27 points, Robin Lopez had 17 points and eight rebounds. The Rockets’ new defensive strategy on Aldridge held him to 8 points on the night.

With that, Houston played some of their best defense of the series, forcing turnovers and generally pestering Aldridge and the Blazers. Portland needs to find a way to free Aldridge or make the Rockets’ pay for doubling, because they want to close this out Friday night.

  1. timb12 - May 1, 2014 at 2:28 AM

    Linsanity is alive and well. It’s painful to watch Harden. Most of his 4th quarter points came on free throws, he still hasn’t exactly found his rhythm.

    • ranfan12 - May 1, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Probably just needs to work on sharing it a little more. Those pick and rolls with dwight is still a good combination with the threat of harden driving to the basket versus constant jumpshots

  2. felisberto - May 1, 2014 at 5:27 AM

    Jeremy Lin beat the Blazers. The Rockets series is extended thanks to Jeremy Lin the NBA best PG(my opinion ).

    • abchome - May 1, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      You are Linsane!

    • john242322 - May 1, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      LOL…Not that he’s bad or anything, but Lin isn’t even in the top 10 PG’s in the league…

      • deeballer - May 1, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        How could he be if Harden hogs the ball all game?

    • bougin89 - May 1, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      He is the 2nd best point guard…in this series.

    • majorhavoc83 - May 1, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      Look. I’m a big Jeremy Lin fan, but he’s NOT the best PG in the NBA. When he’s “on”, Jeremy can be an offensive machine; he can absolutely slice and dice a defense while driving to the basket. No doubt he’s gotten much better and confident in that regard. He’s also a smart guy and dishes the ball well. That said, he’s not the fastest guy on the court and he often gets burned on defense by more athletic guards. Couple that with inopportune turnovers and you have a really solid, but definitely not top 10 PG.

      I think the biggest issue continues to be that both he and Harden need the ball in their hands, and I still don’t think those two mesh well together on the court (which is part of the reason why you have Harden and Beverly starting and Lin coming off the bench).

      Prediction: Lin will be playing for a different team next season. Funny enough, I think he’d be better off back on the Knicks. And yes, I’m a big Knicks fan.

  3. bougin89 - May 1, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Dwight’s averaging a cool 26 ppg, 14.2 rpg and 3.0 bpg in this series.

    • xLith - May 1, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      Don’t worry, the Dwight haters will find something to complain about him for.

      • ranfan12 - May 1, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        I do get tired of him taking himself out of each game with offensive fouls every year lol.

  4. Very Real News - May 1, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    “Go to a Game 7 back in Houston and anything can happen.”

    Actually, just one of two things can happen…

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