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Portland falls short in overtime at Houston

01/14/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson


    The Portland Trail Blazers dropped the second game of their current six-game road swing, their third consecutive loss, despite a season-high 29 points for Nicolas Batum off the bench and a double-double from LaMarcus Aldridge.

    "We put ourselves in a position to win the game. We had to execute both ways and we had open looks and we just didn’t knock them down," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "The pick and roll was working for us and we had open looks, we just didn’t make our opportunities."

    Portland (7-5) took a 95-92 lead with 2:29 left to play on Wesley Matthews' turnaround jumper off the glass, but a layup by Kevin Martin and a three-pointer from Kyle Lowry put the Rockets back on top 97-95 with 30 seconds on the clock.

    After a timeout, Raymond Felton assisted on an Aldridge shot to tie the game and Lowry's bid for a game-winner missed, sending the game to overtime.

    An Aldridge free throw and a Jamal Crawford jumper had Portland in the lead 100-99, but a Luis Scola layup and six straight points from Martin combined with Portland's misses from the floor and the charity stripe cemented the final margin in the Rockets' favor.

    "It was a dirty, ugly game. We just found a way to win it," Houston coach Kevin McHale said.

    Batum led Portland with 29 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, including two come-from-behind denials of Houston fastbreaks in the second quarter of highlight-reel quality.

    "I got a lot of open shots, some easy lay-ups and I was making free throws," Batum said. "I let the game come to me, and I was very aggressive. I am defense first and then the offense comes."

    Aldridge started slowly, hitting just one of his first eight shots, but finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Felton added 13 points while Crawford and Craig Smith scored 11 points each off the bench.

    Houston (5-7) was led by Kyle Lowry, who flirted with a triple-double by notching eight rebounds and nine assists to go along with his career-high 33 points.

    "We knew he’s been playing really well, and he is very aggressive," McMillan said. "I thought the biggest play that he made was the board he got in overtime."

    Kevin Martin added 28 points for the Rockets despite going 0-for-6 from three-point range and Chase Budinger chipped in 18 points off the bench.

    Portland has Sunday off before a Noon PST tip (Comcast SportsNet, 750 AM The Game) against the Hornets, Monday, in New Orleans.

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