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Rockets Avoid Collapse On Paul's Layup

Paul's layup with .8 seconds left answered a 17-0 Blazers run that tied the game

April 05, 2018 - 11:42 pm
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HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Terry Stotts was ready to call it a day. With 3:57 to play Thursday night at Toyota Center, James Harden drove to the rim and his finger roll put the Rockets up 17. The Blazers coached called timeout and emptied his bench, but despite Mike D'Antoni leaving his starters in the game, Portland chipped away.

Wayne Baldwin IV layup made it a 15 point game. Then a Rockets turnover resulted in a Pat Connaughton 3-point play. Baldwin followed a missed 3-pointer with a floater. That brought the lead down to 10 qith 2:46 left. The Rockets kept coming up empty on their end only to see Portland put the ball in the net. After Harden's layup, the Rockets missed four straight shots to go with four turnovers. 

Jake Layman brought the Blazers within two with 13.3 seconds left. Connaughton fouled Harden, who missed both free throws, and Connaughton drove the ball inside and laid it in to tie the game with 6.1 second left. In less than four minutes a 17 point lead was gone, and it happened with only one Blazers starter, C.J. McCollum, on the floor, and that was for a total of seven seconds.

D'Antoni called timeout after which, Chris Paul slashed inside and went high off glass with .8 seconds left. McCollum's heave at the buzzer drew iron, but bounced off harmlessly, sealing the Rockets 96-94 win.

Paul's layup gave him 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting, that was only the second shoot he attempted in the fourth quarter. He scored 10 points in a first quarter that saw the Rockets jump out to a 36-17, and he finished with 20 in the first half as the Rockets took a 22-point lead into the locker room. Portland narrowed the margin to 12 in the third quarter, but couldn't get closer, and in the fourth, they got the lead down to 10, only to see the Rockets score seven in a row.

Harden scored 24 points to go with six rebounds and seven assists, but he turned the ball over eight times, seven coming in the second half, four in the fourth quarter.

Clint Capela added 11 points in 10 rebounds as the Rockets improve to 64-15 on the season.

Portland played without Damian Lillard, who missed the game with a sprained left ankle. In his absense, McCollum led the Blazers in scoring with 16 points, but shot just 7-of-25 from the field.

The loss drops Portland to 48-31 as the Rockets sweep the season series between the two teams.

The Rockets will finish up the home portion of their schedule Saturday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder visit Toyota Center.