Road Takes: Blazers can’t stand overtime in Houston

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

It was a battle.

The Portland Trail Blazers played about as perfect as could be for much of Sunday’s tilt in Houston against the Rockets.

Unfortunately for them, they didn’t come up with a bigger number in the “W” column.

James Harden finished with 41 points and 10 rebounds on the night and the Blazers couldn’t manage to get an easy look had their life depended on it late, both in regulation and overtime, against Houston.

The Blazers eventually lost, with point guard Damian Lillard getting disqualified with 3:39 left in overtime with his sixth foul. 

The Rockets played like the team that belonged against the team that kept trying to deliver haymaker after haymaker late in Sunday’s battle. 

The Blazers dominated for most of the game as they held leads late in regulation and in overtime but couldn’t manufacture stops against Harden or Jeremy Lin when they needed to. 

When it came down to it, Harden and Lin produced when the Blazers couldn’t stop either player from getting what they wanted.

Wesley Matthews was a beast going to the basket and drawing 13 foul shots, of which he made 12. LaMarcus Aldridge looked to be more like himself even though he finished with 28 points on 27 shots. Neither player had much of an efficient night from the field. 

One of the few players to have a good night from the field was Damian Lillard, coming off a bad night against the Mavericks on Friday. Lillard scored 21 points on 13 shots against the Rockets but had another problem that he had to deal with Houston: fouls.  Lillard picked up his 6th foul with 3:39 left in overtime and obviously was unable to continue his impact on the game.

Outside of Lillard and Robin Lopez, no Blazer had an efficient game from the field and it showed late.

The Rockets have been the 7th best defense in the league since January 1st.

Portland’s bench wasn’t efficient either, with Mo Williams and CJ McCollum both having tough nights from the field when their team needed every bit of offense they could muster up.

Portland had an eight-point third quarter lead and looked poised to take a major road victory but their lack of execution did them in against a team that looked more ready and more able to win.

The Blazers have a lot of time between now and the end of the season, but if they are going to make it past the first round of the playoffs, they have to wins game they are in a position to win.

The Blazers are now 0-2 in their first two games of a big time five game road trip.

They’ve lost the season series to the Rockets and need a very strong finish to the season to hold home court advantage in the playoffs.

Things aren’t looking great and they’ve gone 0-2 during a road trip in which every game is important to their playoff seeding.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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