Apr 27, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) takes off his jersey after Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Rockets 123-120 in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets Lose A Tough One In Overtime

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Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

After coming off of a much needed win on Friday night, the Houston Rockets were right back at it Sunday night vs the Portland Trailblazers. The Trail Blazers currently led the series 2-1, and the Rockets wanted to split the series at 2 a piece headed back to Houston. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

The Game

In the first quarter, the Houston Rockets were rolling along. While James Harden was a little rusty, Chandler Parsons stepped up big time. Whether it was driving to the rim, or settling for the mid range jumper, Parsons was on fire. The Blazers however, were running up the court and getting good looks as well. Unlike the previous games in the series, they started to utilize their wing players. Instead of going down to LaMarcus Aldridge, they got Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum good looks. Despite Parsons being the only one hot for the Rockets early on, they led 29-23.

Heading to the second quarter, the Rockets wanted to keep on building on their lead. As we all know, no lead is safe. Parsons and Batum were still sizzling for their respective teams. Towards the end of the quarter, James Harden started to find his rhythm a bit. Knocking down the step back jumper, and hitting the occasional three. Still no sign of Aldridge for Portland, as both teams were relying on their wing shooters for the majority of the scoring. Heading to halftime, the Rockets led 61-51.

Only 24 more minutes of basketball and all Rockets fans could ask themselves is whether the Rocket  could keep the lead? In the third quarter, the Trail Blazers finally got LaMarcus Aldridge going. It seems literally impossible to guard Aldridge. His mid range jumper is deadly. It didn’t matter whether Omer Asik or Dwight Howard was guarding him, Aldridge had it his way. Parsons and Harden continued to heat up, but when you don’t make stops on the other end, you aren’t really increasing the lead. At the end of the third quarter, the Rockets led 84-79.

The fourth quarter finally rolled along. Every game in this series went down to the wire, and the Trail Blazers have been rising to the occasion in “crunch time.” All the Rockets needed to do, was hold the lead for 12 more minutes. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

Everyone on the Blazers was red hot. They were getting quality shots, and just could not be stopped. Whether it was going down low to Aldridge, or swinging the ball to Batum for the 3-ball, Portland had gained all the momentum. The Rockets went cold down the stretch, and the Blazers capitalized. Once again, the Houston Rockets let a lead slip away. The Rockets were fortunate to make the game head into overtime. Howard made clutch free throws at the end of the quarter, and important defensive stops were made. Although the lead was blown, the game was not over. Heading into overtime, the game was tied at 106.

The game should not have turned out this way, but it did. The Trail Blazers continued where they left off. Huge three pointers, and key stops on defense. The Rockets just could not be consistent on the offensive end. James Harden cooled off, and everyone looked out of gas. Daniels hit a big three and gave the team a lifeline late in overtime. Down four and under a minute, the Blazers fouled Daniels while shooting a three and the rookie calmly knocked down all three of his free throws.

The Rockets then intentionally fouled Aldridge, and got just what they wanted. Aldridge missed two huge free throws that gave the Rockets life again. Sadly, Houston could not execute on the offensive end. They were forced to foul Mo Williams, and he made both. Out of timeouts, the Rockets had to push the ball up the court and shoot a three. Hoping they would give it to Daniels, Patrick Beverley had the ball stripped away by Wesley Matthews, and that was the ballgame. An extremely disappointing ending that shouldn’t have happened. The Houston Rockets lost a heart breaker, 123-120.

Box Score & Highlights

After this disappointing game, the Houston Rockets now fall behind 3-1 in the series. One more win for Portland, and the Rockets are eliminated. Game 5 is scheduled in Houston Wednesday night at 8:30 PM CST, and can be seen on TNT or CSN Houston.

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