Trail Blazers vs Rockets Saturday, 12/05/09 AT 07:00PM

Last second shot lifts Trail Blazers to emotional victory

  1. Written by: Max Mandel

    Over the course of this season, the Portland Trail Blazers (13-8) have dealt with significant injuries that have tested their vaunted depth. However, nothing could quite compare to the feeling of seeing Greg Oden grabbing his knee and writhing in pain after fracturing his left patella. In a truly inspiring performance, Portland used the injury to Oden as motivation and earned a thrilling 90-89 victory over the Houston Rockets (11-9). In a thrilling finish, Brandon Roy put the Trail Blazers ahead with three seconds left on an acrobatic layup at the rim. With the win, the Trail Blazers have now won two of the three meetings against the Rockets this season.

    After the injury to Oden, numerous guys elevated their games and willed the team to victory. Although the last second basket will be the most memorable play of the game, Roy put this team on his back throughout the fourth quarter. In the final quarter alone, Roy scored 12 of his game-high 28 points. After losing three consecutive games, Roy knows the importance of getting this win before heading out on a four game road trip.

    "We won the game, but at the end of the day all of our hearts are with Greg," Roy said after the win. "We did our best to stay in there tonight. Everybody stepped up and played well. We put up a big win and a win that we really needed before we went on this road trip."

    One of the most impressive aspects of this victory came on the defensive end of the court. After allowing their previous three opponents to shoot over 50% from the field, the Trail Blazers displayed great toughness and energy in limiting the Rockets to only 41 second half points. This terrific defensive performance drew the praise of Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan after the game.

    "The team that I've been looking for, I saw them tonight after Greg's injury. The scrappiness, and the being together and connected," McMillan said. "I thought the team came together tonight after Greg went down and I really feel it was the first time I've seen them play like we are capable of playing."

    Along with the great performance by Roy, Portland also received strong play from two guards off the bench. Jerryd Bayless seems to grow more comfortable in the offense each game, and today he scored 13 points and repeatedly attacked the basket and drew fouls. Andre Miller played arguably his best offensive game as a member of the Trail Blazers, scoring 24 points on 9-14 shooting. In his return from injury, LaMarcus Aldridge recorded a double-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 boards.

    In the loss, Carl Landry came off the bench to score 23 points and grab 9 boards for the Rockets. Landry and Luis Scola proved to be a formidable duo in the paint, with Scola scoring an additional 21 points. However, after struggling to control the speed of Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry in previous meetings, the Trail Blazers limited both guards to under 10 points.

    The Trail Blazers return to the court on Monday night when they travel to face the New York Knicks in the opening game of a four game road trip. Opening tip is scheduled for 4:30 PST.

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