Trail Blazers Falter In The Fourth, Lose In Overtime To Rockets In Houston

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

HOUSTON — The Portland Trail Blazers gave up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter Sunday night in Houston, eventually losing 118-113 in overtime to fall to 42-21 on the season.

The Trail Blazers were outscored 33-21 in the fourth quarter and went scoreless in the final 2:15 of overtime to drop their second-straight game in heartbreaking fashion.

“That was a tough loss,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “A game that, I thought we did a good job of controlling it for a good part of it. We had our opportunities to win it. They made some tough shots. I thought we we overcame some adversity and still put ourselves in a position to win, but we didn’t close it out.”

After getting off to a terrible start in Friday night’s road loss to the Mavericks, the Trail Blazers flipped the proverbial script versus the Rockets, getting off to a 10-0.

But like most good teams do, the Rockets looked to one of their superstars, in this case, James Harden, to settle the team down. Harden shot just 2 of 7 from the field in the first but made all six of his free throws to finish the quarter with 11 points while helping Houston pull to within two points by the end of the first quarter despite Dwight Howard having to sit after picking up two early fouls. Portland also helped Houston’s cause by turning the ball over seven times, which the Rockets turned into 11 points.

Portland would find their rhythm again in the second quarter. Through a combination of cutting down their turnovers and holding Houston to 32 percent shooting from the field, the Trail Blazers outscored the Rockets 24-19 in the second to take a 54-47 lead into the halftime intermission.

The Trail Blazers were able to build on their lead in the third quarter, thanks in large part to 11 points from Wesley Matthews, who shot 4 of 6 from the field and 3 of 4 from three while playing the entire quarter. Robin Lopez went 3 of 3 from the field and 2 of 2 from the line in the third for eight points, which helped Portland outscore Houston 31-26 to take a 12-point lead into the final quarter.

But that 13-point lead wouldn’t be enough. As was the case Friday night in Dallas, the Trail Blazers went through long stretches, particularly late in the fourth, in which they were unable to get shots to fall. Propelled almost entirely by the play of Harden, who shot 6 of 10 from the field and 4 of 5 from three in the final 12 minutes of regulation, the Rockets were able to steadily cut into Portland’s lead.

“They just made a great comeback,” said Damian Lillard. “James Harden made a bunch of tough shots and we missed a few free throws, turnovers. We were still in position to win the game. We had our opportunities. They just kept coming and they found a way to get it done.”

The Trail Blazers would go for over six minutes in the fourth without a field goal, though they did earn four trips to the free throw line during that stretch, Unfortunately, they shot 5 of 8 from the line during that stretch, opening the door up just enough for the Rockets to take their first lead of the night after a Jeremy Lin three-pointer with 1:25 to play in regulation put the home team up 102-101.

Lillard would score on the ensuing possession. Matthews would be the next player to score, hitting two free throws with 19 seconds to play in regulation to put Portland up three.

Lin would then earn a trip to the line, hitting one of two, to cut Portland’s lead to two. Matthews was fouled by Patrick Beverley on the ensuing possession, sending Matthews to the line with 12 seconds to play and a chance to make it a two-possession game. But Matthews would miss his only free throw of the night on the second attempt, which left the door open for the Rockets to tied.

And Houston did just that. Despite great defense from Matthews, Harden was able to connect on a three-pointer from the corner in front of Portland’s bench to tied the game with eight seconds to play.

Portland had one more chance to win the game in regulation after calling a timeout to advance the ball to halfcourt. Batum tried to find Lillard for a lob, but Lin made a play on the ball for the steal.

“Damian was coming wide open,” said Stotts of Portland’s last offensive play of regulation. “Jeremy Lin made a really good read, he left Mo open in the corner. Damian broke open, it was just Jeremy Lin made a really good read on it.”

After the steal, Lin got the ball to Beverley, whose last-second attempt rimmed out to send the game to overtime.

The Trail Blazers would draw first blood in the overtime on a Lillard three-pointer, but Portland would net just one more field goal in the overtime period while the Rockets get buckets from Lin, Harden and Chandler Parson to take the lead and eventually the game.

“We definitely had looks at the end,”said LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, “but I think at times we try to play too fast and Houston made us play a little faster and at times we definitely fell into their trap. For the most part, we had looks and we just missed them.”

Portland was led by Matthews, who finished the night with 26 points, four rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block in 41 minutes. Robin Lopez had a double-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds while also blocking five shots. Lillard, who fouled out early in the overtime period, had 21 points, four assists and four rebounds but also turned the ball over seven times in 33 minutes.

Harden led all scorers with 41 points while also adding 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals.

“(Harden) played well,” said Matthews. “We know what he’s going to do with pick-and-rolls, and going to his left, and they were going to call fouls for him. He’s going to hit free throws. It’s easy to get a rhythm when you shoot a lot of free throws and he was able to do that. He hit a big shot from the corner to tie the game up. He’s playing good basketball.”

Next up, the Trail Blazers travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies Tuesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 PM.

Show Comments

Podcast: The Rip City Report, Finalized Roster Edition

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
18 hours ago

Greetings podcast enthusiasts. Between CJ McCollum getting an extension and Moe Harkless signing a new deal, Portland’s roster for the start of the 2016-17 regular season is all but finalized. So it seemed like a good time to hit the studio with Joe Freeman of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…

On this edition, we discuss the near-max extension for McCollum and the four-year, roughly $40 million contract for Harkless, which directions Terry Stotts might go in terms of starting lineups and minutes allocations, the news that both Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli will forego playing for Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Olympics, give a quick rundown of the preseason schedule and answer your Twitter-submitted questions.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. Thanks as always for listening.

Show Comments

VIDEO: McCollum Brothers Talk Tournament, Who’s Mom’s Favorite on ESPN

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
22 hours ago

Last weekend, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and his older brother, Errick, were guests on ESPN’s SportsCenter to discuss, amongst other things, The Basketball Tournament, which is billed as a “open application, 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all basketball tournament” in which the winning team takes home $2 million in prize money. Errick’s team, Overseas Elite, won the tournament last year and are in the finals, which airs Tuesday at 4 PM Pacific on ESPN, again this year.

But the tournament wasn’t the only topic of conversation, as any time you get two brothers together, you’re contractually obligated to ask them which is mom’s favorite. One one had, CJ still lives with his mom, so you might assume he’s the got the No. 1 son ranking sewn up, but it sounds like Errick was the much better behaved child and mom’s tend to have long memories, so it sounds like it’s a bit of a tossup.

 

“CJ, he was a good kid,” said Errick, “he just liked to get into things. He was really physical. She couldn’t take him around any other kids or he would, like, get into little altercations with them because he just played too rough.”

Sounds about right.

Show Comments

Stotts Talks Super Teams And Suits On The Doug Gottlieb Show

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
4 days ago

On Thursday, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was a guest on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. Over the 15 minute conversation, Stotts discusses LeBron James saying he would have been his pick for 2016 NBA Coach of the Year, Kevin Durant signing as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors, the notion of “super teams” in the NBA, having confidence in your players and his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive.

You can listen to the entire interview here, though I’m transcribed a portion which you can read below…

On LeBron James saying Stotts should have been Coach of the Year:
“To be honest, it felt pretty good. I have a lot of respect obviously for LeBron, what he does and what he’s done in his career, but for him to come out and say that, it made me feel good.”

On Cleveland winning the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 to Golden State:
“Obviously it was historical. A lot of things went into it, but when a team can do that and to win two games on the road being down 3-1, it’s really remarkable. It just put an end to a historical season as it was with Golden State and what they did during the regular season, the way they came back against Oklahoma City and then for Cleveland to do that, it was just remarkable. I thought it was a remarkable season to begin with and it finished that way.”

On Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors:
“My first reaction was he earned the right to be a free agent. I know a lot of thought went into it and it wasn’t a decision that he took lightly. I know he took a lot of criticism for making that decision but I think he earned that right to make whatever decision he felt was best for him. I think it’s going to be interesting with Golden State. Obviously defending them is going to be a challenge because — we talked about versatility — they were already an extremely talented offensive team and he’s going to make them better. They’re going to be a different team than they were last year, they’re not going to have the big guys. When you lose Festus Ezeli, who is on our team now, and Andre Bogut and Maurice Speights, the look of their frontline is going to be different. But I think they could be just as good just because of what they’ll be able to do at the offensive end.”

His thoughts on “super teams” in the NBA:
“You know, I don’t know if it’s good or bad for the league. I’ve just kind of accepted that that’s the way things are. I know people have made comparisons when LeBron went to Miami and that was supposedly the first super team and they won two championships, but it’s not like there was a five year, seven year run dynasty. When you get out on the court, you still have to play the games. Obviously Golden State is going to be very good, but you’ve got to play an 82-game season, you’ve got to go through four series to win a championship. I think the league does thrive on star power, whether it’s star power within a team or having a team be a star. I don’t know, I think the league is doing extremely well, I think it’s extremely popular. I think this is just another story that people are going to be interested in.”

On having confidence in shooters like Allen Crabbe and CJ McCollum:
“I’m a big believer in confidence when shooting. It probably goes back to my freshman year in college when I didn’t know whether to shoot or (laughs) you know the phrase. But anyway, I’m a big believer in confidence and Allen and CJ are two different categories. CJ struggled with injuries his first two years and was trying to get incorporated into a roster that was winning 50 games and never really got into a rhythm. I think shooting is about rhythm and confidence. Same thing for AC, really, is that he did have opportunities to play in his first two years but he was playing behind Wes Matthews and Nic Batum and his opportunities on the court were limited. When you’re looking over your shoulder and trying not to make mistakes and putting pressure on (yourself) to make a shot, it’s difficult. I really give it to CJ and Allen, they were ready for this year and they were prepared for it, the opportunity was going to be there. But I think that a lot of players — and you know, you played — is that if the coach trusts me, I’m going to play better. Whether I trusted them or not their first two years, certainly their opportunity was there and I trusted them with the role that they were going to have.”

On his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive:
“Every year what I do is I go through the closet and knowing that I’m going to get some suits in the fall, I go through and weed out the older ones. There’s certain ones that I do kind of have a special place in my heart for them, but other than that, I just take some of the older suits and the Men’s Wearhouse has a great program with the suit drive to give away suits to people who can use them. I’m kind of a bigger guy so hopefully there’s some big guys out there who are able to take advantage of them.”

Show Comments