CJ McCollum scored 44 factors, together with a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left that gave the Portland Path Blazers a 128-126 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night time.
Damian Lillard had 32 factors and 9 assists to assist Portland get its first win. McCollum additionally had eight assists.
McCollum completed 17 for 30 from the sphere, together with 9 for 16 on 3s. Lillard was 5 for 13 from past the arc.
“I believe apart from Steph (Curry) and Klay Thompson, we’re the one backcourt within the league that empowers the opposite,” McCollum mentioned of his partnership with Lillard. “I don’t attempt to take over the sport from him. We work collectively.”
James Harden completed with 44 factors and 17 assists for Houston, and Christian Wooden added 31 factors and 13 rebounds. Harden additionally had a game-ending turnover on the ultimate possession of extra time.
Lillard’s layup pushed the Blazers forward 125-123 with 30 seconds left in extra time, however Harden made a 3 to push the Rockets forward with 15.3 seconds left.
Then with 6.3 seconds left, the ball discovered McCollum once more and the Blazers’ guard hit one other lengthy vary shot placing Portland forward 128-126.
“We tried to do every little thing that it takes as a staff to cease whoever has the recent hand,” Harden mentioned of the Blazers’guards. “They each began off gradual after which the remainder of the sport the caught hearth.”
McCollum’s jumper with 2:03 left in extra time pushed Portland’s result in 123-118, forcing a Rockets timeout. After Wooden lower the Blazers result in 123-120 with a layup, Harden tied the sport once more at 123 with 38.6 seconds left.
A layup by Wooden with lower than a minute left in regulation tied the rating at 111. Then Lillard put the Blazers forward at 113-111 with 52 seconds left. Harden responded with a basket of his personal to tie it once more at 113 with 38.9 seconds left.
After a missed 3-pointer by Lillard, Houston’s PJ Tucker was referred to as for a unfastened ball foul on the rebound with 32 seconds left. Houston’s problem of the decision was unsuccessful, however they had been rewarded after Jusuf Nurkic missed each free-throws.
Each groups exchanged empty possessions and the sport went into extra time.
After Portland jumped out to an early lead, Harden’s impression on the sport was rather more noticeable. Harden had eight assists, to go together with six factors, within the first quarter alone.
“I really feel like my conditioning may very well be higher clearly,” Harden mentioned. “However I believe we let it get away from us. I didn’t shock myself in any respect. I do know what I’m able to.”
For Portland, Lillard made good on his promise to be extra aggressive after scoring solely 9 factors within the opener, getting 21 within the first half.
However regardless of the higher begin and a extra aggressive Lillard, issues as soon as once more went sideways for the Blazers within the second quarter. The Rockets pushed their result in 40-30 with 8:16 left, all with Harden watching from the bench, forcing a Blazers timeout. Houston pushed its result in 16 within the first half.
Harden, who had a double-double of 17 factors and 10 assists by halftime, additionally regarded like he already had nice chemistry with free agent acquisition Wooden, who had 15 factors within the first half, as Houston led 68-58 on the break.
Houston’s grip on the sport loosened within the third quarter as Portland’s protection began to string some stops collectively and McCollum received sizzling. McCollum had 4 3s within the third, with three coming in a span of lower than 90 seconds on his strategy to 14 factors within the quarter. With the improved protection and McCollum’s play, the Rockets’ lead was lower to 85-84.
Houston scored solely 17 factors within the third quarter.
“We had been extra aggressive, we rotated so much higher,” McCollum mentioned of Portland’s improved protection. “We’re studying, we’re studying on the fly. We’ve got to regulate on the fly and benefit from our time. Hopefully we can have extra quarters just like the third quarter tonight.”
Houston has 16 gamers on its roster and entered Saturday with 9 eligible, another than the league minimal. The Rockets’ scheduled opener Wednesday was postponed as a result of 9 gamers had been unavailable, together with Harden after he was discovered to have violated league well being and security protocols. His four-day quarantine ended Friday.
“It’s been troublesome,’ first-year coach Stephen Silas mentioned.” We didn’t have a shoot round on the gameday on Wednesday. “Then we didn’t play, then we didn’t have a follow that day after which we had a shootaround right this moment. My preparation so far as movie research has been superb however getting us on the identical web page has been a little bit of a problem.”
The Rockets had been nonetheless with out John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon and Mason Jones on Saturday, all listed as out by the Rockets with “well being and security protocols” as the explanation. These 4 gamers, in the event that they return detrimental checks, will see seven-day quarantines finish Wednesday and will play as early as Houston’s house sport Thursday towards Sacramento.
Ben McLemore and Kenyon Martin Jr. are away from the staff and self-isolating, the Rockets mentioned, and Chris Clemons is misplaced for the season with an Achilles damage.
“We’ve got an opportunity,” Harden mentioned of the Rockets, with the hope they are going to have a extra full unit subsequent week. “We simply need to get issues clicking quicker than later. Everyone knows the West is a really sturdy convention, there’s no nights off. We’ve got to be ready each sport.”
Blazers: Rodney Hood scored his first factors since coming back from a torn Achilles he suffered over a 12 months in the past. Hood was scoreless in his first sport again on Thursday, however received going with a 3-pointer within the first quarter. Hood averaged 11 factors per sport and shot 49% from the 3-point line in 21 video games with Portland final season. Hood was additionally a key member of the Blazers staff that went to the Western Convention Finals in 2019. Hood
Rockets: With solely 9 energetic gamers and Harden being a late arrival to coaching camp, Silas was requested about what sort of workload the previous MVP would have. “James will play within the 30s for positive,” Silas anticipated. “I’ll be speaking to him continuously by the sport. We’ve got to have a look at this long-term we will’t forsake the longer term and having him exit play 41, 42, 43 minutes however we’re going to try to win the sport.”
As for the 4 gamers presently in quarantine, Silas mentioned he expects to have them again for the staff’s follow scheduled for Wednesday.
Blazers: Play their first street sport of the season towards the defending champion Lakers on Monday.
Rockets: Proceed on their street journey to go to the Denver Nuggets on Monday.