Rockets Trounce Blazers, Get Back To .500

SB Nation Houston's coverage of the Rockets-Blazers game on March 1st, 2011

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Rockets Dispatch Blazers, Creep Closer In Western Playoff Race

Portland, OR (Sports Network) – Kyle Lowry finished with 21 points and 11 assists as the Houston Rockets handled the Portland Trail Blazers, 103-87, at Rose Garden.

Luis Scola posted 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field and Kevin Martin added 20 points for Houston, which has won five straight and six of its last seven games. The Rockets also ended a four-game skid in Portland, a place they hadn’t won in since April 3, 2008.

Nicolas Batum paced the Blazers with a game-high 22 points. LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace both added 14 points with Wallace grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds in the loss.

Portland has lost back-to-back games and finished a four-game residency 1-3.

The Rockets opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run, capped by six straight points from Chase Budinger, to take a 61-44 lead. The Rockets held their margin and Martin’s three-pointer at 4:24 widened it to 73-55.

The teams traded baskets down the stretch and Wesley Matthews’ free throws just before the third quarter buzzer cut the Houston lead to 83-68.

Martin and Lowry baskets — surrounding a Batum missed three-pointer — widened the Houston lead to a game-high 19, and the Rockets’ lead never fell below 14 throughout the duration.

Scola paced the Rockets with 10 points on 5-of-5 from the field in the first quarter as they held a 30-26 lead after one. Portland was held to 30 percent from the field in the second quarter as Houston widened its lead to 53-42 at the half.

Game Notes

Portland’s Andre Miller scored 13 points and dished out six assists…Budinger added 14 points for Houston…The Rockets held a 52-26 margin in low-post scoring…The Blazers went 16-of-20 from the foul line, compared to 7-of-11 for Houston…Batum was 5-of-5 from the line.

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Rockets Go For Fifth In A Row Against Hot Blazers

(Sports Network) - The Portland Trail Blazers hope to improve their playoff positioning Tuesday when they welcome the Houston Rockets to Rip City.

The Blazers fell to 2-2 on a five-game homestand Sunday when Jamal Crawford had 23 points and Joe Johnson scored 22, as the Atlanta Hawks held on for a 90-83 victory against Portland at the Rose Garden.

Andre Miller had 20 points to lead the Blazers, who were coming off back-to- back overtime games. They lost to the Lakers last Wednesday before beating Denver, 107-106, on Friday.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who left late in the first quarter with discomfort in his left knee but returned with a brace, added 19 points while Gerald Wallace netted nine in his Portland debut. The Blazers, who hold the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoff hunt, acquired Wallace from Charlotte last Thursday.

"I was kinda nervous," said Wallace. "Feels like the first day of school, trying to fit in and adjust to everybody."

Marcus Camby was held scoreless in his return to the lineup after missing 16 games with a balky knee.

The Rockets, meanwhile, have won four straight, including the opener of a three-game road trip Sunday in New Orleans when Kevin Martin scored 33 points and Kyle Lowry notched 18, as Houston mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to down the Hornets, 91-89.

Martin went 13-of-13 from the free throw line, including a pair with 18.4 seconds to go that eventually decided the game. Charles Hayes had six points, 11 rebounds, and five assists for the Rockets, who have won five straight on the road and are three games south of Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

"We played our game," Lowry said. "We played as physical as them. They're a physical team."

Reserve point guard Goran Dragic, who was acquired from Phoenix last Thursday, was down with the flu against the Hornets and his status for tonight's game is up in the air.

Portland, which has taken both matchups versus Houston so far this year, will be shooting for a season sweep tonight. The Blazers have also won four consecutive at the Rose Garden over the Rockets.

Houston hasn't won six straight as the visitor since a 12-game stretch from Jan. 4-March 12, 2008.

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