No matter how many points Dwight Howard scores or focused he is on offense. He cannot do it alone. He could not do it alone in Orlando and that team was a top defensive team in the league.
Houston? The Rockets are not quite defensive juggernauts.
They came back and forth and rode Howard as long as they could. LaMarcus Aldridge, Dorrell Wright and Damian Lillard had the offensive balance and the downright nastiness to steal a second game on the road 112-105 at Toyota Center on Wednesday. This one was not a theft like Game One, the Blazers held off the Rockets behind the once-again brilliant play from Aldridge.
Aldridge nearly matched his 47 points with 43 points on 18-for-28 shooting. Aldridge had the mid-range game working and was attacking the glass hard when he could. Neither Omer Asik nor Dwight Howard could do much with him.
Aldridge’s big performance was more a steadying force. Something Portland needed to weather the early storm from Howard. Howard scored 19 of his 32 points in the first quarter. He had 25 in the first half for the first time in his career.
Despite Howard looking like his coach, Kevin McHale, for part of the first half, the Rockets could not pull away. No one else was scoring with Howard. James Harden was an icy 6 for 19 for 18 points. Much of that came late.
Portland was able to find balance throughout the game, whether that came from Lillard or Wesley Matthews or Dorrell Wright. The Trail Blazers were consistently better offensively. That is how they won the game. The Rockets had one source for their offense for most of the game, the Blazers’ attack was multi-faceted.
Houston now has the unenviable task of needing to win twice at Moda Center, a very difficult place for opponents to play.