PORTLAND - Guard Troy Daniels’ 3-point shot with 11 seconds to go in overtime gave the Houston Rockets a 121-116 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night at the Moda Center.
Guard James Harden collected 37 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Rockets, who won for the first time after losing the first two games of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series.
Guard Damian Lillard had 30 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Trail Blazers.
It was 112-112 early in overtime when forward LaMarcus Aldridge made two free throws and Lillard scored on a reverse layup to give Portland a 116-112 lead. Houston guard Jeremy Lin sank a short fadeaway to cut the margin to 116-114, and Hardin’s step-back jumper tied it at 116-116 with 1:50 left.
Neither team scored again until Daniels drilled the 3-pointer to push Houston in front 119-116.
After a timeout, Portland forward Nicolas Batum missed a 3-point shot from the top. Harden sank two at the line with 1.1 seconds left to ice the verdict.
Lillard scored 16 first-half points, including a free throw with .1 of a second left, to send Portland into the third quarter with a one-point lead. Houston centre Dwight Howard scored 12 points and Harden and Houston guard Patrick Beverley 11 apiece in the first half, though the latter two were held scoreless in the second quarter.
With centre Omer Asik fronting Aldridge and denying him the ball, the Blazers’ All-Star managed only four points on 2-for-8 shooting from the field in the first half. He finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
The Rockets extended the lead to 73-67 midway through the third quarter and settled for an 81-78 advantage heading into the fourth.
Houston upped the margin to 90-80 on a Harden 3-pointer with 10:17 remaining. It was 96-85 with eight minutes to play when Portland guard Mo Williams buried a 3-pointer and was fouled by Houston forward Chandler Parsons. Williams converted the free throw for a four-point play to draw the Blazers to 96-89.
Williams followed with a 22-footer to cut the margin to 96-91 with 7:11 to go.
The Rockets went back on top 102-93, but Aldridge converted a three-point play to make it 102-96 with 5:17 remaining. Moments later, Lillard sank a scoop shot and was fouled, finishing another three-point play to draw the Blazers to 103-101 with 4:05 left.
Howard — fouled intentionally — answered with two at the line to make it 105-101. Batum drove for a basket with 2:55 left to cut the lead to 105-103. Fouled again, Howard made 1 of 2 and it was 106-103.
Williams answered with two free throws to trim Houston’s lead to 106-105, and a Lillard driving layup put Portland on top at 107-106 with 1:59 remaining. Houston regained the lead at 108-107 on two Harden free throws with 1:41 left, and he made two more to push the Rockets in front 110-107.
Moments later, Houston blew a golden opportunity with a missed breakaway layup. Batum sank a 3 at the other end to tie it at 110 with 34 seconds to go. After a Harden miss, the Blazers rebounded and worked it to Lillard, who missed a step-back 3-point shot. The Rockets rebounded, calling timeout with 3.3 seconds left.
Harden’s desperation attempt from midcourt was off, and it was on to overtime.
Beverley knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to start the game and Houston jumped out to a 9-0 lead. With Beverley and Harden each scoring 11 points, the Rockets grabbed a 35-24 advantage after one quarter.
Daniels’ 3-pointer gave Houston a 38-26 edge early in the second quarter. With Aldridge on the bench, the Blazers clicked into gear, embarking on a 16-0 run for a 42-38 lead.
Portland increased the margin to 45-40, but the Rockets responded with a 14-5 run to go in front 54-50. The Blazers scored the final five points of the half to go into intermission ahead 55-54. Lillard scored 12 points in the second quarter.
With a franchise-record 46 and 43 points in the first two games, Portland F LaMarcus Aldridge became the first player with consecutive playoff games of 43 points or more since Orlando G Tracy McGrady (April 2003). Aldridge is the first player with 80-plus points and 15-plus rebounds in his team’s first two playoff games since Chicago G Michael Jordan (April 1997). ... Houston G James Harden made only 14 of 47 shots from the field in the first two games. ... In Wednesday’s Game 2, Portland G Damian Lillard, G Wesley Matthews and F Nicolas Batum combined for 10-for-36 shooting. ... Houston, which led the NBA with 9 1/2 3-pointers a game during the regular season, is only 11-for-51 from beyond the arc in the series so far. ... The Rockets are in desperation mode after losing the first two games of the series at home. “Everybody’s frustrated,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “If you get your (butt) kicked and aren’t frustrated, you’re in the wrong business.”