Blazers take win streak into Houston

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will carry a five-game winning streak into Monday's crucial Western Conference showdown against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

The Blazers haven't lost since Dec. 12 in Chicago and are 2-0 on this current four-game road trip. Portland will wrap up the sojourn Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

Portland started the roadie with a 129-119 triple-overtime victory in San Antonio over the reigning NBA champion Spurs. One night later, with tired legs, the Blazers were extremely impressive in a 114-88 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

There was no hangover for Portland, as LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in its wire-to-wire victory.

Damian Lillard, fresh off his 43-point performance against San Antonio, scored 17 points, and the Blazers led by as many as 34 by shooting 57.1 percent from the field over the first three quarters.

"I think that was an impressive back-to-back with the win last night with how we won that in triple overtime and then to come out with the energy and focus that we had tonight, from beginning to end, that was a very impressive back- to-back win for us," said Portland coach Terry Stotts.

Chris Kaman chipped in 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting for Portland, which has won three in a row on the road.

The Rockets have dropped two straight, both at home. Monday's contest will complete their homestand and things don't get easier as the Rockets visit the Memphis Grizzlies and Spurs.

On Saturday, Houston fell to the Atlanta Hawks, 104-97. The Rockets lost back- to-back home games for the first time since November of last season and also had a 19-game home winning streak against Eastern Conference opponents halted.

Dwight Howard paced the Rockets with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while James Harden supplied 18 points and a career-high 14 assists. Jason Terry and Patrick Beverley each had 14 points in the loss.

Harden left the game briefly in the first half with a strained hamstring but returned to action. He leads the NBA with 26.3 points per game.

The Rockets acquired Corey Brewer from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Alexey Shved from the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, but both players were inactive. Houston dealt Troy Daniels and some cash to acquire the two wings. The Rockets waived Francisco Garcia to make room for their newest additions.

"The first half we were just slow to everything and they were knocking down shots," said Harden. "(Then) we started playing our brand of basketball."

Beverley tied the game at 90-90 on a 3-pointer with 3:08 left in the contest. Terry then committed a traveling violation before Al Horford found Paul Millsap inside for a bucket and Kyle Korver nailed a triple on the following possession to make it a five-point game with 1:29 to play.

Terry's floater was off the mark out of a timeout, then Dennis Schroder netted a pair of free throws at the other end to increase the cushion.

The Blazers bested the Rockets in six games during the first round of last season's playoffs. The Rockets have won nine of the last 12 against the Blazers in the regular season. Houston has taken six of the previous eight as the host in this series.