|Western Conference - Round 1 - Best of 7 - Game 4 - POR Leads 2-1|
|Last 5 Games||2-3||-3.9||2-3||3-2||110.0||51.2||42.9%||58.8||110.6||50.4||46.4%||54.2|
|Team Stats (All Games)||107.9||54.4||38-81||47.0%||9-27||35.5%||22-31||71.3%||56||12||21||21||7||15||6|
|vs opponents surrendering||101.3||50.6||38-83||45.5%||8-21||35.8%||18-24||75.5%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Road Games)||106.5||53.2||38-82||46.5%||9-26||35.6%||21-29||71.8%||54||11||21||21||7||15||5|
|Stats Against (All Games)||103.6||50.9||39-88||44.3%||8-23||35.3%||17-23||76.0%||51||12||22||24||8||13||6|
|vs opponents averaging||101.7||50.8||38-83||45.5%||8-22||36.1%||18-24||76.3%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||106.2||52.9||40-87||45.8%||8-22||35.5%||19-24||78.8%||51||11||23||23||8||13||6|
|Last 5 Games||4-1||+4.6||3-2||5-0||115.8||53.6||45.4%||59.8||113.4||52.0||43.2%||57.0|
|Team Stats (All Games)||107.1||52.8||39-87||45.0%||9-25||37.1%||19-24||81.5%||54||12||23||20||6||13||5|
|vs opponents surrendering||101.4||50.6||38-83||45.4%||8-22||35.8%||18-24||75.6%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Home Games)||107.9||53.4||40-87||45.8%||9-25||36.6%||19-23||82.4%||55||13||24||18||6||14||5|
|Stats Against (All Games)||103.2||51.7||40-88||45.0%||7-19||35.1%||17-23||76.5%||52||12||20||21||8||12||4|
|vs opponents averaging||101.8||50.9||38-83||45.6%||8-22||35.9%||18-24||75.3%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||101.8||50.4||40-89||44.6%||7-19||35.7%||16-20||77.3%||50||12||21||21||8||12||3|
|Average power rating of opponents played: HOUSTON 95.8, PORTLAND 96.5|
|4/8/2014||@ LA LAKERS||145-130||W||-9||W||228||O||56-97||57.7%||64||14||44-95||46.3%||41||11|
|4/16/2014||@ NEW ORLEANS||100-105||L||3||L||209||U||35-81||43.2%||49||14||43-82||52.4%||51||8|
|4/27/2014||@ PORTLAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/30/2014||PORTLAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/1/2014||@ LA LAKERS||124-112||W||-8.5||W||218||O||46-99||46.5%||60||10||41-92||44.6%||49||11|
|4/27/2014||HOUSTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/30/2014||@ HOUSTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|HOUSTON: GUARDS: JAMES HARDEN is a franchise player, and as one of the league's elite pick-and-roll threats, he and Dwight Howard have the potential to be dominant . . . Trade rumors will continue to circle JEREMY LIN, who isn't an off-the-ball threat to fit alongside Harden. He is, however, clearly a starting-caliber point guard . . . PATRICK BEVERLEY really shined in back-up minutes last year, and he's part of the reason that Lin is expendable. He's strong defensively, and he proved capable of running the second unit. He'll be one of the league's top back-up PGs if Lin stays . . . Rookie combo guard ISAIAH CANAAN will be developed as a spot-up shooter . . . REGGIE WILLIAMS is a roster filler . . . AARON BROOKS is around as a reclamation project . . . RONNIE BREWER provides a much-needed athletic perimeter defender. FORWARDS: CHANDLER PARSONS is an elite role player. He entered the league with the reputation as a pure athlete, but it's his ability to knock down the corner three that's made him so valuable in Houston . . . GREG SMITH looks like another great find for the Rockets. He's an athletic banger who can allow Dwight Howard to roam a bit on defense . . . DONATAS MOTIEJUNAS showed flashes as a rookie, but the stretch four looks like a situational role player for the foreseeable future . . . FRANCISCO GARCIA will lend a veteran presence to the second unit . . . Versatile TERRENCE JONES could be in for more minutes as the Rockets look for the right role players . . . OMRI CASSPI might be getting his last chance at the NBA. CENTERS: DWIGHT HOWARD should be much happier in Houston, though the Rockets still have to convince him that he can dominate as a pick-and-roll player. He should make everyone forget about his season with the Lakers . . . The fact is OMER ASIK just doesn't fit alongside Howard. But if he stays somewhat happy in Houston, he could be a valuable second-unit player . . . MARCUS CAMBY has latched on to chase a ring.|
|PORTLAND: GUARDS: DAMIAN LILLARD is for real, an elite shooter and a natural running the pick-and-roll. Though we're a little worried about what will happen if pick-and-pop partner LaMarcus Aldridge is dealt sometime this season . . . WESLEY MATTHEWS will be battling for playing time with Portland loading up on wings . . . C.J. MCCOLLUM can play either guard spot, but primarily he's a scorer and a potentially elite shooter. He is, however, out a few months with a foot fracture. . . MO WILLIAMS will provide the Blazers with a veteran guard presence who is more than capable of lighting it up on any given night. He is, however, a major defensive liability'If he straightens out his jumper, WILL BARTON could end up being a solid second-unit player . . . EARL WATSON gives them a much more reliable back-up point guard than Ronnie Price was . . . Sharpshooter ALLEN CRABBE will likely find himself in the D-League early on. FORWARDS: LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE's name will be in trade rumors all season, but it won't affect his role as this team's No. 1 option . . . NICOLAS BATUM will continue to do a little bit of everything, playing point forward to allow Lillard to play off the ball at times, and serving as a dangerous three-point shooter . . . DORELL WRIGHT can lock opponents down when he wants to. He'll push Wesley Matthews for minutes . . . Portland will be the next team to try to squeeze production out of 2012 No. 5 pick THOMAS ROBINSON. After Sacramento and Houston both gave up on him almost immediately, Robinson in danger of falling off the NBA map . . . VICTOR CLAVER provides some energy as a second-unit bit player . . . JOEL FREELAND has six fouls to give. CENTERS: ROBIN LOPEZ will be a better fit alongside Aldridge than J.J. Hickson was. Lopez isn't skilled, but he can take some defensive responsibilities away from Aldridge . . . MEYERS LEONARD is, as expected, still a work in progress. He's enormous and there's some raw talent, but he too often looks lost.|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW (HOUSTON-PORTLAND) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Updates. With AP Photos.)
*Rockets-Trail Blazers Preview* ===============================
By ANNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer
Houston At Portland, Game Four, 9:30 p.m. EDT
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Houston's James Harden says the pressure has shifted to the Trail Blazers in their first-round playoff series. Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge respectfully disagrees.
Portland won the first two games in Houston before the Rockets won the third, 121-116 in overtime on Friday night at the Moda Center. Game 4 is Sunday night.
"We're still in control, the pressure is still on them," said Aldridge, who had more than 40 points in each of the first two games before the Rockets held him to 23. "They lost two at home so they're trying to come here and they have to take two. They came out and played as they should, they played like they were desperate and needed a win, like they didn't want their season to end."
Harden had a career playoff-high 37 points on 13-of-35 shooting in Friday's game, overcoming some of the offensive struggles that had him shooting 14 of 47 in the first two. He effectively combined on the pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard, who had 24 points and 14 rebounds.
" The pressure is on them," Harden maintained. "Sunday is going to be a great game and we have to do a great job of being ready, being focused. We have to quiet runs to a minimum and just be out there for four quarters. The hustle plays, the loose balls, we have to get all of those."
Game 3 had an unlikely hero in Troy Daniels, who spent time in the D-League this season and only made his NBA debut on March. 5. Daniels drained a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds to go in OT that proved to be the winner. He finished with nine points, all 3s.
It was just his sixth NBA game.
"I was ready. My teammates and coaches said just to be ready to shoot that shot and that's what I did," Daniels said. "That's my job."
Only three teams have come back to win after losing the first two games of a seven-game series at home: The last was the 2004-05 Mavericks, who came back against the Rockets.
No team has ever come back from 0-3, which made the Rockets' victory crucial.
The Blazers seemed unfazed by the loss, still brimming with confidence over their 2-1 advantage.
"It would be a problem if we lost the game because of effort or because we weren't focused on taking care of business, but we were," said point guard Damian Lillard, who led the Blazers with 30 points. "It's the playoffs and nobody said we were going to come out and sweep them. We're lucky we were able to win two games in Houston and be in the position we're in right now. `'
The Blazers hadn't opened a playoff series 2-0 since 1977, when they jumped on the Lakers en route to the Western Conference title. Portland went on to beat Philadelphia for its lone NBA championship.
The Blazers returned to the playoffs this season after a two-year drought. They haven't advanced out of the first round since the postseason in 2000.
Aldridge opened Portland's return with a franchise postseason-best 46 points in the Blazers' 122-120 overtime victory in Game 1, then followed it up with 43 points in the 112-105 win on Wednesday night.
Houston coach Kevin McHale addressed Portland's All-Star forward by tinkering with his lineup, starting Omer Asik in place of Terrence Jones. Asik and Dwight Howard were able to keep Aldridge off balance for much of Game 3.
McHale also found success with a small lineup of Harden, Daniels Jeremy Lin and Pat Beverley with Howard.
"For us to win this series we have to stay composed," Howard said. "You can't relax against this team You have to attack their bigs, attack their smalls and put them on their heels. That's the only way we're going to win this series."
|Last Updated: 12/20/2014 6:25:48 AM EST|