Published November 20, 2014
Damian Lillard poured in 20 points, including eight in the extra session, as the Portland Trail Blazers downed the Houston Rockets, 95-85, in overtime on Saturday at Toyota Center.
Lillard also handed out nine assists, while LeMarcus Aldridge led the way with 27 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Trail Blazers, who were coming off a 106-92 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"I think it all really came down to (Aldridge) on the block," Lillard remarked. "He really got going and he carried us offensively."
Nicolas Batum chipped in 17 points, nine boards, four assists and six steals in the victory.
James Harden tallied a team-high 24 points in his debut in front of the Houston crowd and Jeremy Lin, who was always making his home debut, donated 13 points and seven assists in the setback, Houston's first of the season.
"It wasn't the prettiest game today," Lin admitted. "That's the way it goes sometimes."
Houston led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Portland opened the third quarter on a 12-4 surge to knot the game at 49-49.
Portland reeled off seven straight points late in the third, but the Rockets scored the final five of the frame to pull within 64-63 heading into the fourth.
The Trail Blazers tallied the first four points of the final stanza, but back- to-back 3-pointers from Marcus Morris sparked an 11-0 Houston run to give the Rockets a 74-68 lead with just under 6 1/2 minutes left in the contest.
Lillard quelled the surge with a 3-pointer before knocking down 1-of-2 at the line to bring the visitors within two.
J.J. Hickson's layup tied the game at 78-78 with just under 1:30 remaining, but Lin floated home a layup and knocked down the ensuing free throw after being fouled on the shot attempt to give Houston an 81-78 edge.
Wesley Matthews buried a 3-pointer from the wing on Portland's next possession to re-tie the game with 59.8 ticks on the clock.
After the teams exchanged empty possessions, Harden had a chance to win the game, but his 3-point try from the top of the key was blocked, sending the teams into overtime.
"Just good defense," Harden said of the final play of regulation. "I lost the ball...good defense."
Lillard drilled a triple just under a minute into the extra session and Batum followed a Harden miss with a trey of his own to give Portland an 87-81 lead with 3:35 to play.
After two free throws from Harden, Lillard finished a layup before Batum came up with a steal and knocked down 1-of-2 at the line to make it a 90-83 game.
After an Omer Asik layup, Lillard provided the final dagger with a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Portland a 93-85 edge with 1:25 on the clock.
Earlier in the game, Harden netted 10 points in the opening quarter to help the Rockets take a 19-17 lead after 12 minutes.
Houston never trailed in the second and outscored the visitors by six to take a 45-37 lead into the halftime break.
Houston had won the last four meetings ... Matthews finished with 16 points for Portland ... Morris added 13 points off the bench for Houston ... Houston shot just 5-of-26 from long range, compared to 10-of-24 for the Trail Blazers.