Trail Blazers vs Warriors Wednesday, 04/17/13 AT 07:00PM

Aldridge's 31 Not Enough To Beat Red-Hot Rockets

02/18/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    The Trail Blazers (25-25) ran into an offensive buzz saw tonight in the Rockets as they fell in Houston 114-94. LaMarcus Aldridge had a big game of 31 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

    The first quarter set the tone for this one and unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, it wasn't the tone they wanted to set. Coming into the came, a key to playing against the Rockets, who play at the fastest pace in the NBA, was to not allow them to dictate how the game is played. Portland needed to get stops and they struggled doing so against a Houston team that was shooting 65 percent after the first quarter, scoring 34 points to Portland's 28.

    From the beginning of the game, it was Aldridge who was the key for the Trail Blazers. Over the last few games Aldridge had been doing most of his damage with his jump shot but tonight, against big men that are very good defensively like Omer Asik, Aldridge went to work in the post. And, by being in the post most of the night, it allowed him to get open looks on his jumpers and he was very efficient. Aldridge was 14 of 23 from the field and also grabbed 11 rebounds, extending his double-double streak seven, the longest double-double streak of his career.

    Along with Aldridge, Damian Lillard was doing a good job offensively in the first half as he scored 14 of his 18 points. Portland would need more help though, as they were down by nine.

    Aldridge continued his great play from all over the floor but help came in the form of Nicolas Batum. Wearing a new wrist brace to support his sore right wrist, Batum was more aggressive in the second half. He scored 21 of his 24 points and a few times, Portland cut the lead to seven with 8:23 left in the game but that was the closest they would get after that. However, it was still a welcome sight to see Batum being his aggressive self again.

    Houston was just a machine that could not be stopped on the offensive end.

    "We probably could have contested them better," Terry Stotts said. "They hit a lot of shots. When they spread the court like they do and penetrate and find and they move the ball well, they are hard to guard. You can always do things better. When a team shoots 60 percent, you can always contest a little bit better and do things better defensively.

    James Harden had a monster game in both volume and efficiency. He scored 35 points, going 13-14 from the field, going five of six from the line and four of five from three. It didn't really matter who was on him tonight, he was going to score. But he also set others up as he had 11 assists and seven rebounds. The Rockets, who scored 140 points earlier this week, continued their offensive success in a big way as they shot 59.5 percent from the field and hit 12 threes on 26 attempts.

    The Trail Blazers travel to Orlando to face the Magic on Sunday. That game will be at 3PM and will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 620 AM KPOJ.

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