Portland beats Houston again to take 2-0 series lead
April 23, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
LaMarcus Aldridge did it again, this time with a deeper supporting cast and a more motivated opponent.
Aldridge scored 43 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 112-105 victory at Houston Wednesday night, giving the Blazers a 2-0 lead in the NBA Playoffs first round series.
Damian Lillard added 18 points, while Mo Williams and Dorell Wright combined for 28 points off the bench to help carry the team past the Rockets, who got 32 points from center Dwight Howard and double-figure points from its other four starters.
Portland, though, outscored the Rockets 30-13 off the bench, and Howard scored only seven points in the second half.
"This is definitely the best I've felt going into a game, and I think this team in general just believes in me so much," Aldridge told media afterward. "They just ride the wave so well. ... I think having 15 guys have your back like that, it's great."
Portland plays host to the Rockets Friday and Sunday, with the best-oif-seven series winner facing either San Antonio or Dallas in the second round.
Should the Blazers beat Houston, they're guaranteed another series in Texas.
Portland, which finished the regular season with nine wins in 10 games, has not won a playoff series since 2000.
The Blazers, after a 122-120 overtime win on Sunday, looked headed for a 1-1 series tie in the first half, when the Rockets pulled to an 8-point lead and twice had 3-point shots rim out off fastbreak opportunities. But, they rebounded and had the game tied at 53-all at halftime. With their lead at one late in the game, they pulled away in a fashion they hadn't shown off during the second half of the regular season.
After two games, only Portland, Washington and Miami hold 2-0 series advantages. Of the 16 first-round games played, the visiting team has won nine - a playoff record.
SPORTSLAND 2013: Jim went ballistic over a non-call, but not the blackout
Feb. 4, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
It would have been a lot better if David Akers had somehow managed to be the deciding factor in the Super Bowl Sunday, and not an uncalled penalty. If it was a penalty.
Not only has Akers been a shaky kicker all season, but he got injured on a second-half field goal and had a camera in his face as he practiced in the fourth quarter, getting ready for the game-winning or losing kick that the CBS anchor crew had predicted prior to the game.
They should have, instead, promoted the Ravens winning on a phantom non-call for pass interference to bail out a bad play-call in the first place. It would have been an easy call if the Niners had taken a delay-of-game penalty and given that fade route more space to work. But, blame the officials, and make that play the memorable one from Baltimore's 34-31 Super Bowl win.
That's a key point of this week's Sportsland Episode, when co-hosts Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber talk up Sunday's results, including the commercials involved, as well as the Blazers, Ducks' football and basketball, and the connection between the Winterhawks four-game skid and the NHL getting back to work.
That, plus What We're Watching, all from Blitz in the Pearl in downtown Portland.