Notebook: Rockets 116, Trail Blazers 98

Posted Apr 6, 2013 2:31 AM

By Kerry Eggers, for

THE FACTS: James Harden went for 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Houston Rockets blew away the Portland Trail Blazers 116-98 Friday night at the Rose Garden.

Jeremy Lin collected 22 points and eight assists and Greg Smith added 19 points for Houston (43-33), which won its fourth straight game to stay a game behind Golden State in seventh place in the Western Conference playoff race.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Trail Blazers (33-43), who lost for the seventh consecutive time.

QUOTABLE: "Harden makes that team go. I'm not saying he's LeBron, but he's like LeBron in that he likes to pass the ball, he's so good at the pick-and-roll and he's so hard to guard."

--LaMarcus Aldridge

THE STAT: Houston shot superbly, firing at a .513 clip from the field, including .429 (12 for 28) from 3-point range.

TURNING POINT: After Portland trimmed a seven-point halftime deficit to 68-63 early in the third quarter, the Rockets revved up the motors again, taking a 92-77 advantage into the final period.

QUOTABLE II: "I got myself going a little bit with my body tonight. That allowed me to move the basketball and be in attack mode for the entire game, rather than just holding the ball and trying to make plays stagnant."

--James Harden, who played his second game after sitting out the previous two games with a sore right foot

HOT: The Rockets were smoking early, knocking down 6 of their first 7 shots from beyond the arc and shooting .556 from the field in mounting a 35-31 lead after one quarter.

NOT: Portland's Wesley Matthews was 1-for-11 on 3-point attempts. Overall, Matthews and backcourt mate Damian Lillard combined for 10-for-31 shooting.

GOOD MOVE: Portland rookie Will Barton made the hustle play of the night, lunging near the end line to retrieve a ball, then firing it at a Rocket's leg, bouncing it out of bounds.

BAD MOVE: Moments later, Barton had the ball at the hoop in transition but laid a pass back to teammate Meyers Leonard. A surprised Leonard caught the pass but missed the layup.

QUOTABLE III: "They were both aggressive. They had a lot of dump-offs for Greg [Smith] and our bigs. They did a nice job of getting into the paint and breaking down the [Portland] defense."

--Houston coach Kevin McHale on guards Harden and Lin

NOTABLE: It was the 20th time this season that Houston, which averages 106.0 points, scored 116 or more. ... the Rockets won the battle in fast-break points 28-14. ... Aldridge moved past Mychal Thompson into seventh place on the Portland career scoring list with 9,221 points. ... Aldridge leads the NBA with seven games of at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. Miami's James has six. ... Aldridge, who tied a career high with his 36th double-double of the campaign, had 24 points and 10 rebounds by halftime. The last player to achieve such numbers before intermission was Charlotte's Gerald Wallace in January 2010.

UP NEXT: For the Rockets, Saturday @ Denver, Tuesday vs. Phoenix, Friday vs. Memphis. For the Trail Blazers, Sunday vs. Dallas, Wednesday vs. L.A. Lakers, Friday vs. Oklahoma City.