Dragic, Rockets easily beat Trail Blazers 94-89

If the Blazers wanted any kind of momentum to climb further out of the depths of the Western Conference seeding, tonight was the night, but one of the two teams was clearly the better. Portland (27-31) needed to beat the Houston Rockets (32-25) as the Rockets were soaring on a 3-0 road trip and would try to avoid a season sweep. Also tonight was the return of center Marcus Camby who was traded to Houston at the trade deadline in exchange for Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet, but from the start the Blazers would have tremendous trouble on both offense and defense, going 0-6 from the field in the very beginning and after tying 3-3, the Rockets took off and took advantage of a sloppy Portland team, growing their lead to as much as double figures. Portland would come back after halftime and tie again at 49, but the Rockets made their shots and forced plenty of turnovers in route to a 94-89 season sweep of the Blazers to a deflated Rose Garden crowd.

The opening three minutes for both teams was horrific as everyone got open shots but most were rushed and no one scored until Courtney Lee hit a three as did Wesley Matthews on the next possession. Houston got the majority of scoring from point guard Goran Dragic whose quick feet drove past his defenders for points inside and those from the outside. Camby also wanted to make himself known in front of his former team and by halftime took about seven shot attempts which were more than he attempted as a Blazer this season. He was left to guard LaMarcus Aldridge and none of Aldridge’s tricks would fake out Camby, he would even try to hit a three at the top of the key after the Rockets took a 24-17 lead in the first quarter.

The second quarter was a lot of Rocket threes as Portland would be late to cover the guards, Blazer-killer Chase Budinger would get hot from three and the lead kept growing. The Blazers would commit too many turnovers, miss too many open shots and the game from here would get boring to watch, falling behind 49-40 at halftime. Portland’s brightest spot came in the opening minutes of the third as they scored nine straight points, all inside and tied the game at 49, Houston took a timeout and regained the lead for good, open and shut case and another fat L marked in the record.

Without Nicolas Batum due to a sore left knee, Jamal Crawford was placed into the starting lineup but no Blazer really had a great night to remember. LaMarcus Aldridge scored a quiet 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk on 7-15 shooting and was spotty throughout, not really establishing himself. Don’t be fooled: Crawford’s 18 points came from an awful 4-14 from the field but 9-9 from the free throw line and struggled mightily for 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl in 38 minutes. Raymond Felton didn’t fare well either for 14 Pts, 8 Ast, 2 Stl and 3 turnovers which is lackluster for the recent string of performances he’s had recently. The last Blazer in double figures was J.J. Hickson for 12 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Blk and two sweet put back jams.

For Houston it was the 22 points from Goran Dragic that led the Rockets to a 4-0 road trip sweep. The Rockets got the win shooting 46% from the floor, 10-19 from three, 22-17 in assists and scored 38 points in the paint along with 19 fast break points.

Kind of expected this one, but the Blazers will have to get this loss behind them as they face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

photo courtesy of oregonlive.com/blazers