Game 2 Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 112, Rockets 105

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April 23rd, 2014

NOTES

• LaMarcus Aldridge is 1st NBA player to record 43+ points, 8+ rebounds and 3+ blocks in a playoff game since Shaquille O'Neal (May 8, 2001).

• LaMarcus Aldridge is the first NBA player with consecutive playoff games of 43 points or more since Tracy McGrady (April 20-23, 2003).

• LaMarcus Aldridge's 89 points in 1st 2 playoff games are fewer than only Michael Jordan (1986, 1988) and Jerry West (1965) in last 50 years.

• LaMarcus Aldridge has recorded 2 of the franchise's 3 highest scoring playoff games in the last four days (45, Bonzi Wells, 4/23/03 at DAL).

• The Trail Blazers have won two road games to begin a playoff series for second time in team history (1977 Conference Finals at LA Lakers).

• LaMarcus Aldridge is first player with 35+ field goals in team's first two playoff games since Michael Jordan (43, April 28-May 1, 1988).

• LaMarcus Aldridge is the only player with two 40-point playoff games for Portland, and he has accomplished the feat in consecutive games.

• In the first two games of this series, LaMarcus Aldridge now has two of the franchise's seven 40-point playoff games, all-time.

• LaMarcus Aldridge is the first NBA player with back-to-back 40-point games in the playoffs since LeBron James (May 24-26, 2009).

• Dorell Wright's 15 points match his career postseason high (4/23/10, Miami vs. Boston).

• LaMarcus Aldridge is first player with 80+ points and 15+ rebounds in team's first 2 playoff games since Michael Jordan (April 25-27, 1997).

• LaMarcus Aldridge scored 43 points (18-28 FG, 7-8 FT), ten rebounds and three blocks tonight. Aldridge was three points away from matching his career-high (46, vs. Houston 4/20/14) and has 86 points (35-59 FG) in two games so far against the Rockets this playoff series. Before tonight’s game, he was currently shooting 50.4% from the field, averaging nine rebounds, 1.4 assists and 23.3 points per game in the playoffs against the Rockets for his career.

• LaMarcus Aldridge is first player with 80+ points and 15+ rebounds in team's first 2 playoff games since Michael Jordan (April 25-27, 1997).

• Dorrell Wright and Mo Williams combined for 28 points (8-13 FG, 5-9 3FG, 7-7 FT) off the bench for the Trailblazers in tonight’s 112-105 win against Houston.

• Houston recorded another sold out crowd of 18,331 tonight. Rockets fans have sold out Toyota Center for a second straight playoff game and 40th of the year.

• The Rockets were +38 (68-30) in second chance points tonight against the Trailblazers. Houston currently leads Portland 126-68 in second chance points this playoffs series.

• The Rockets fall 0-2 in the First Round of the playoffs since 2013 (vs. Oklahoma City). Since the 1983-84 expansion, the Rockets are 0-7 in the First Round when losing the first two games of the series.

• Rocket starters went 34-78 from the field and each scored double-digit points in tonight’s loss against the Trailblazers.

• Dwight Howard had 32 points (13-22 FG, 6-7 FT), 14 rebounds and four blocks in tonight’s hard fought loss. Howard nailed six straight field goals to start the game. This marks his 29th double-double in playoff games. He also has seven career 30 point and ten rebound playoff games. In the first quarter, he scored 19 points surpassing Hakeem Olajuwon for most points scored by a Rocket in a quarter (18, 1st quarter vs. Utah, 5/5/95). This is the second time in his playoff career that he has scored 25 or more in the first half of play (vs. Atlanta 4/16/11, 31) with each coming in a loss.

• James Harden had 18 points (6-19 FG, 2-5 FG, 4-4 FG), three rebounds and four assists in tonight’s loss. Rockets are 0-6 in the playoffs when Harden attempts 19 or more field goals.

• Patrick Beverley finished with 14 points (5-11 FG, 1-4 3FG, 3-4 FT), two rebounds, two assists and one steal in tonight’s game. This marks his 5th career playoff game in double-digits points and 4th with at least ten points, two rebounds and two assists.

QUOTES

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Damian Lillard

On His Thoughts About LaMarcus Aldridge’s Play:
“What can they do to stop him. He was hitting tough fade aways, getting into the lane, getting guys into the air and drawing fouls. He was great once again. Just like game one. He really carried our team. When I couldn’t get it going and I couldn’t hit shots, he just carried us. He played like an MVP again. I thought we had a great effort collectively in the second half as far as guys knocking down shots when it came they’re way. Guys coming in off the bench, coming in and playing physical defense and defensively, we did a great job and we did whatever we needed to do to win the game.”

On How It Feels To Leave Houston Up 2-0 In The Series
“I don’t think we thought about going 2-0. We were just focused on Game 1 and we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Everybody in our locker room knew we were capable of winning games on the road. Once we stole game one. We weren’t the only tram to do that, but we kept telling ourselves we needed to get greedy and don’t be satisfied with one win because a lot of teams that came out and did the same thing we did (in game one) some into game two and got blew out and couldn’t do it two times. We talked about how Washington was able to do it by bringing energy in game two and they competed the same. I thought our team did that same thing. We knew they would come out and play really hard, shoot the ball well and the crowd would be into it and we had to stay the course and believe in our system ad stay together and we did that and we were able to steal another one.”

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LaMarcus Aldridge
After Game One, Did He Have Any Idea He Could Repeat His Performance:
“I came into the game just trying to feel it out and see what they were going to try and do because everybody had made so much chaos over how they were going to guard me and things like that. I just went into the game just trying to feel it out and ended up finding my rhythm. I thought coach did a really great job of moving me around. They were trying to double me a little, so I thought coach moving me around the floor was great. I made tough shots and I thought they played great (defense). I don’t think too much was easy tonight. I just got in that rhythm and started making shots, but they definitely changed it up on me. It’s an honor (to be mentioned with the greats of the game). Those are big time guys and big time names, hall-of-famers, so to even be in the same breath with those guys is an honor for me.”

On What It Takes To Have A Performance Such As This One:
“I keep saying, God blessed me with some incredible skills. Last game, I was going inside and this game, it was all outside. That’s why I go home every summer and work on getting better. I always try to come back with something new every year and now I have that balance to play inside and out."

On having ever been in a zone like this in his career:
“I have. I think it was at the All-Star break. The game before, I think I had forty and then I came back and think I had forty. I think I was the first guy to do it since Clyde (Drexler). That was similar, but definitely not at this stage, in this moment. This is definitely the best I’ve felt going into a game. This team in general just believes in me so much and they ride the wave so well. When I’m going one through fifteen, they are all cheering and telling me to shoot it. If I pass up a shot, they’re all mad a at me and I think having fifteen guys having your back like that is great.”

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Robin Lopez

On Winning The First Two Games In Houston:
“I think we had a very nice team effort. I really applaud that we did a great job of having each other's backs and will enjoy this one tonight. We have to respect what the other team is doing and stay focused and keep our heads down.”

On LaMarcus Aldridge's Play:
“He's our leader. He's the one we rally around. When he's hitting shots that's good for us but even when he's not, we have other guys stepping up and a lot of guys stepped up big tonight. One of the things our coaches stress is being more consistent. We were a little more consistent tonight then the previous game. LaMarcus has really taken it to hear on both ends of the floor.”

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Terry Stotts

On The Game:
“Let me just say, getting a second win here was quite an accomplishment. I liked our demeanor. We withstood some of their blows and kept fighting. I told the team it something to be proud of, but we have a tough game on Friday, so it’s just on to the next one.”

On The Stretch In The Fourth Quarter Where Aldridge Was On The Bench:
“I thought Dorell Wright coming off the bench really made a difference. They made a run and we had a lead and they tied it up. He came in and I thought he made a lot of big plays. He was making some shots and he had a block and got some rebounds. Mo Williams, during that stretch as well. We need our bench to play well and it doesn’t always mean scoring. I thought our bench played well in Game one, but didn’t necessarily score, but it was good to get some points off the bench, but we’ll take them wherever we can."

On Having Seen Aldridge Play This Well Before:
“No. I’ve seen him have a fantastic season. There’s no question but these two games here is as well as I’ve seen him play. He is very determined, he’s focused, and he’s leading the team, not only with his play, but also with the way he’s handling himself in the timeouts and in the locker room. This is really the best I’ve ever seen him play.”

On Dwight Howard Getting Off To A Good Start:
“He got off to such a good start. We wanted to play him straight up and I thought we did a better job as the game went on in mixing up our coverages. I thought Robin (Lopez) and L.A. (LaMarcus Aldridge) played good defense and the rest of the team really paid attention to him. The fact he had twenty five in the first half and finished with thirty two…we wanted to give him a lot more attention in the second half.”

On What The Trail Blazers Have Done To Take Harden Out Of His Game:
“I think Nick (Batum) and Wes (Matthews) give a lot of effort every defensive possession. James is one of the best scorers in the league and he’s going to have his opportunities and I takes focusing as he still going to get his shots. We’ve done a good job guarding without fouling and one thing about playoff basketball is that everybody has the every possession mentality. We didn’t fall asleep on him and I don’t think he got a lot of easy looks and every great player in this league, you just want to make them work and I think Nick and Wes in particular really have made him work.”

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James Harden

On What Went Wrong:
“We just couldn't get stops. LaMarcus Aldridge killed us once again. Two games, ninety plus points. It is tough for us to get out in transition and play how we play if we can't get stops.”

On If He Has Ever Seen Anybody In His Playoff Experience Play Like LaMarcus Aldridge:
“It's tough, no. No, he's doing it a high level too . He's making tough shots, he's getting to the foul line. He's offensive rebounding. He's doing the whole package and it's tough for us. We gotta figure something out real soon. In game three, it is either we win or it's over.”
On what he has to do to get himself going offensively:
“I'm not worried about my offense, I'm worried about our defense, our defense as a team. When we get stops and get out in transition everybody feels good about themselves and that's when the assists flow in and things start going well. Like I said, if we can't get stops it makes it more difficult. They are a very good team.”

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Terrence Jones

On Guarding LaMarcus Aldridge:
“We just have to continue to try to play good defense and just play with a hand up. He really had it going the last two games and was making some pretty unbelievable shots so you know it was good defense. We just have to continue to box out and get rebounds on defensive end when they do miss.”

On How Frustrating It Is For The Rockets When Playing Good Defense But Aldridge Is Still Scoring:
“It's basketball. It happens when you are guarding great players. So, you just want to continue to play the best D that you can and stick to the game plan.”

On When The Rockets Were Playing Their Own Style Of Basketball:
“We definitely made a run that was definitely Rockets basketball. We just couldn't get stops later on after that. It slowed us down. We like playing fast.”

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Chandler Parsons

On The Loss:
“We're in an 0-2 hole. We've got to fight out of it. We can't hang our heads. We're at a crossroads. We can go to their place and beat them on their home court just like they did to us and it seems like that's the only option for us right now. The series is the first one to win four games, not two games. So, we've got to learn from this and watch a lot of film tomorrow and figure out what we can do differently to stop them because it's not working right now.”

On What Went Wrong:
“LaMarcus Aldridge is playing at another level right now. He is hitting some ridiculous shots. We are giving up too many rebounds. We are not getting enough stops and we are not being able to get out in transition and run and finish on the break. We had like sixteen assists tonight and that's not our game. We've got to have over twenty-five assists. To do that we have to get stops and we've got to get out in transition. When we did that tonight and made that run in the third quarter and tied it up but we've got to continue to do that. When Dwight (Howard) is hot we've got to keep getting him the ball. We've just got to go with what works and really focus on the defensive end because these last two games have been awful defensively.”

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Jeremy Lin

On The Loss:
“It's just pretty much the same thing as game one, I'd say. We didn't really get stops and we had a lot of bone-headed plays, me included and I think LaMarcus Aldridge is playing unstoppable right now and then on the offensive end, our assist numbers have been really low. The ball is not moving the way that it was in the past. We're not getting anything as easy so I've got to go back and look at the film.”

On The Rockets Playing Out Of Character):
“We are trying to play the right way. We are trying to play together but right now, they (Portland) have done a great job of making it tough for us. Nothing has been easy for us. We haven't really gotten anything wide open or anything in transition like we normally do. I think it starts with us having to get some stops and rebounds and that's one thing we haven't done.”

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Dwight Howard

On Problems Defending LaMarcus Aldridge:
“He hit a lot of tough shots tonight. I don't think we took away too many of his easy shots but he hit a lot of tough ones and we have to do a better job of that and we just have to come to play and play harder as a team.”

On What He And James Harden Need To Do To Play Better:
“We've done a lot this season. We've played against Portland in the regular season and we were successful. We just got to play basketball. We can't look back. We have to stay positive. They (Portland) won two games but it's the first to four and we can't let our heads down. We dug a hole but we can always get out of it.”

On The Key To The Rockets Turning Things Around:
“We just got to get stops and when we get stops we can get out and run. We didn't get a lot of stops tonight.”

On Making A Lot Of Shots Early In The Game Offensively:
“It wasn't our game plan. I just came down and got good position and just tried to finish. It wasn't a game plan.”

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Kevin McHale

On Defense Against LaMarcus Aldridge:
“We took him out of the post for the most part. It was pick and pop. We tried doing some different things. We tried running at him a couple of times. He just shot it a couple of times in the middle of us running at him. We never really got enough stops in a row to get going. We ended up shooting forty-seven percent. The only time we were able to get some flow was when we got some stops and were able to push it. Dwight (Howard) had a great start and really got us off to a great start. We weren't able to sustain any kind of offensive push.”

On How To Get James Harden Going:
“We got to move the ball. We've got to attack. We cant hold it. We've got to set better picks. We've gotta have more flow and more side to side. We've had sixteen assists in the last two games. We really haven't moved the ball really well. We haven't shot too well either. James will get it going when we get it going. If we get up and down that's when he's at his best. We've got to get up and down.”

On LaMarcus Aldridge's Play:
“He made some tough shots. So far, he's had a hell of a series. Needless to say. We had some stops. They got a few offensive rebounds, especially late and he got a big offensive rebound. It seems we get a pretty good shot or a good look and not make them. Of course, they made a couple of tough three's over the top on us late in the shot clock. Right now, we are not in a great rhythm and we had better get there but as I told the guys, 'it's the first team to four, not the first team to two.' Since we tried to change it up tonight, that first game he got in the paint and wore us out. Tonight, he was picking and popping and moving and we were having a hard time running people at him because he was on the perimeter most of the time. We were trying to get the ball out of his hands as much as we could but a lot of the stuff he did was pick and pop.”