The script looked all so familiar. Rockets get lead, Rockets blow lead, Rockets lose game, only Wednesday night at Toyota Center, the script took a turn.
A nine point fourth quarter lead was wittled down to one three different times, but each time, the Rockets responded and scored on the ensuing trip. Houston led 95-94 with 5:47 left and closed with a 13-4 run forcing a game 6 in Portland on Friday night. For the first time in the series they got all the key stops and they made all the key buckets.
“We feel like we let a few of these games slip away, and we showed growth by not letting that happen,” Rockets forward Chandler Parsons said.
Parsons was one of five Rockets to score in double figures. He finished with 20, six of which came in the fourth quarter. After a rough finish Sunday night in game four, Jeremy Lin gave the Rockets 21 points off the bench, and kept the Blazers at bay when they were nipping at their heels.
“(Lin) hit two big shots as the shot clock was coming down in both halves, and those were momentum plays,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said.
Lin’s production helped pick up the slack for James Harden who was quiet until late. He finished with 17 points, but eight of those were in the game’s last four minutes. They were the only points he scored in the second half.
Houston fell behind by five early, but led 30-27 after a quarter. The lead grew 17 in the second, but Portland was able climb back in the game and get within 56-48 at halftime. Dwight Howard was limited to six points and three rebounds in 11 first half minutes because of foul trouble, but he made up for it after halftime. He played 22 of the second half’s 24 minutes, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while blocking 3 shots. He finished the night with 22 and 14.
Wesley Matthews led Portland with 27 points, 18 came in the third quarter, but he was kept off the board in the fourth. Damian Lillard scored 26, but only eight came in the second half. Houston was able to hold LaMarcus Aldridge to eight points, 27 less than what he averaged in the series’ first four games.
The series shifts to Portland for game six on Friday night. The Rockets have won twice at the Moda Center this season, and they’ll have to do so again in order to send the series back to Toyota Center for a possible game seven on Sunday. It it’s going to happen they had better plan on using the game five script again.Follow @AdamSpolane
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