They just wouldn’t go away.
So many times on Sunday night you were waiting for Portland tip their cap and call it day. They didn’t do it. In their stunning 122-120 game one overtime win, the Blazers responded, over and over again.
“I was really proud of the way we competed,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. “We had guys make big plays. We fought through some adversity and foul trouble. It’s good to get a win.”
When the Rockets smacked them with a 24-6 run to start the second quarter to take an 11-point lead they got the lead back in four minutes.
To start the second half, the Rockets hit Portland with a 15-3 to go up 13, but by the time the quarter ended it was a six point.
Portland found itself down by 10 with four minutes to go in the game and quickly scored 10 straight points to tie it.
After the Rockets scored the first six points of overtime, the Blazers scored the next eight.
They were down a bucket after LaMarcus fouled out with a Blazers playoff record 46 points with 54 seconds to play, but scored on all of their possessions the rest of the game.
They just wouldn’t die.
Now the Rockets find themselves down in this series and face a must-win game on Wednesday night. They’ll likely be without Patrick Beverly, and possibly for the long haul. The Rockets point guard sprained his right knee, the same knee that had the torn meniscus, on the play that fouled Aldridge out of the game. In noticeable pain, Beverly refused to leave the game, but eventually fouled out ending his night, and maybe his season. He’ll have an MRI Monday, but Dwight Howard didn’t sound optimistic.
“We’re sad about the fact that Pat hurt his knee again,” Howard said. “Didn’t want to see anything happen to him. He’s like my little brother, and just to see him go down, it hurts all of us, but we just have to step up as a team, and try to win for him. He sacrificed his body for us, we have to sacrifice our body for him.”
Howard finished with 27 points and 15 rebounds, but he only made 9-of-17 free throws. When Portland was down 10 late in the fourth quarter they started to “Hack-a-Howard” and the missed free throws helped the Blazers get back in the game. Howard was in foul trouble for much of the game, and fouled out with 11 seconds left.
Houston shot only 41 percent from the field, just 23 percent from the 3-point line. James Harden also scored 27 points, but made just 8-of-28 and missed would-be game winners at the end of regulation and overtime. Chandler Parsons added 24, but the Rockets stars were no match for what Portland’s on this night.
Along with his 46 points, Aldridge grabbed 18 rebounds. Damian Lillard added 31 in his first playoff game. The two combined for 30 of Portland’s 33 fourth quarter.
When backed into a corner on Sunday night in game one, the Blazers fought back and wouldn’t die. Now on Wednesday night we get to see if the Rockets can do the same. If they don’t, it will likely be there last home game of the season.
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