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Preview
Houston at Portland
When: 10:30 PM ET, Friday, May 2, 2014
Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon

The Houston Rockets staved off elimination and attempt to even the Western Conference first-round series at 3-3 when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. The Rockets thrived with their season on the line in Game 5 and avoided the late-game breakdowns that hurt them earlier in the series while posting a 108-98 victory on Wednesday. Now the Trail Blazers feel the urgency to wrap up the series at home to keep from having to travel back to Houston for a Game 7.

The Rockets held Portland star LaMarcus Aldridge to eight points while being highly intent on keeping their season going. “I don’t want to go on vacation,” Houston center Dwight Howard told reporters after Game 5. “I want to win. I want to give everything I’ve got. Every night, put my heart into it and sacrifice my body and do whatever I can to help this team win.” The Trail Blazers are trying to halt a streak of six straight first-round exits that dates back to 2000. “We’ve been good at home all year and now we’ll go back home and take care of business,” Aldridge told reporters.

TV:
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, CSN Houston, KGW (Portland)

ABOUT THE ROCKETS:
Starting point guard Patrick Beverley was limited in Game 5 due to an illness and Jeremy Lin stepped up to have his best performance of the series. Lin had 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting as he rebounded from a poor Game 4 performance that included a costly turnover late in regulation. “I just tried to be aggressive,” Lin told reporters. “I felt like I needed to be more of a spark for the team. I hadn’t done a great job of that in this series so I just tried to come out as aggressive as I can be.” Howard has been Houston’s best player of the series, posting five straight double-doubles while averaging 26 points, 14.2 rebounds and three blocks.

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS: Aldridge averaged 35.3 points over the first four games – including outings of 46 and 43 points to begin the series – before being a complete nonfactor in Game 5. Houston’s lineup switch to Omer Asik from Terrence Jones has allowed Howard to guard Aldridge more often and the results were even better than what Houston expected. Aldridge, who was 3-of-12 shooting, bristled over the notion that Howard silenced him. “The ball didn’t come to me as much,” Aldridge told reporters. “Our guys were making shots and we were playing off them and that’s how the game went. It wasn’t about how Dwight guarded me or anything like that.”

BUZZER BEATERS


1. Portland PG Damian Lillard is having a strong series by averaging 25.6 points and 7.4 assists.

2. Rockets SG James Harden is averaging 25.4 points in the series but continues to struggle with his shooting – 34.7 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range.

3. Trail Blazers SG Wesley Matthews set a playoff career-high with 27 points in Game 4 and he tied a franchise playoff record by making four 3-pointers in the third quarter.

PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 126, Rockets 124
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Houston 56-31 W1 34-10 22-21 0-4 56-27 11-5 33-24
Portland 57-30 L1 32-11 25-19 2-1 55-29 13-3 34-23
Last Meeting
Houston Portland
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/30/14 POR 98 HOU 108 108 48 47.3 98 34 43.4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston D. Howard 22 60.0 4
Portland W. Matthews 27 50.0 4
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston O. Asik 15 6 9
Portland L. Aldridge 8 2 6
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 7
Portland D. Lillard 7
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 2109 45.0 643
Portland D. Lillard 1965 42.6 448
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston D. Howard 1001 269 732
Portland L. Aldridge 850 187 663
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 502
Portland D. Lillard 520
Quickchart Matchup
Houston Off vs  Portland Defense
108.1 Points For
103.4 Points Against
47.0 FG%
45.1 FG%
45.6 Reb
43.9 Reb
Portland Off vs  Houston Defense
107.2 Points For
103.7 Points Against
45.0 FG%
44.4 FG%
43.9 Reb
41.8 Reb