The Rockets led the entire game until the Blazers made that last run. Beautiful passing and surprising hustle caught the Rockets off guard and allowed Mo Williams to drain a 3-pointer giving the Blazers the lead seemingly for good. James Harden found Dwight Howard for the game-tying dunk and this series was headed to its third overtime in four games.
Portland had the formula there too. Big shots. Composure. And the will to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
The Rockets struggles on defense and over-reliance on 3-point shooting is hurting them in these close games. Even with Dwight Howard scoring 25 points and 14 rebounds. Even with James Harden scoring 28 points on a decent (for him in this series) 9-for-21 shooting. Even with Chandler Parsons providing a first half-heavy 26 points.
Portland had four players with 20 points too — LaMarcus Aldridge with 29, Nicolas Batum with 25, Damian Lillard with 23 and Wesley Matthews with 21 — played just enough defense to win and turned Houston’s mistakes (16 for 23 points) into opportunities. The Rockets are playing well, but have to play better to get back into this series.