Chris Paul scored a season-high 37 points as the Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 121-112 Wednesday night at Toyota Center.
Paul attempted a season-high 29 shots, connecting on 13 and added seven rebounds and 11 assists as the Rockets improve to 29-11 having won back-to-back games without James Harden, Nene, and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Eric Gordon added 30 points, knocking down five 3-pointers, while Clint Capela and Tarik Black chipped in 13.
Both teams combined to shoot 30 percent in a first quarter that ended with the Rockets leading 25-19, and despite missing their last eight shots in the first half, the Rockets took a 55-45 lead into half time. Houston shot just 37 percent, but held Portland to 37 percent shooting and out-rebounded the Blazers 32-21.
Portland got a Damian Lillard layup and Evan Turner 3-pointer on its first two possessions of the second half to cut Houston’s lead in half, but the Rockets answered and grew their lead back to a dozen. Lillard’s triple with 3:47 left in the quarter brought the Blazers back to within five, but the quarter ended with the Rockets leading 86-77.
It looked like the Rockets would coast after Gerald Green’s 3-pointer with 6:18 to play put the Rockets up 103-89, but Portland scored the next 11 points to make it a one-possession game with 3:45 left in regulation, but Paul hit a 16-footer, and after Turner connected from 11-feet out, he found a cutting Capela for a dunk. The Blazers never got closer than four the remainder of the game.
Lillard led Portland with 29 points, 21 came in the second half. While C.J. McCollum added 24 and Turner chipped in 18.
The loss drops Portland to 22-19, and Houston has won both meetings between the two teams.