PORTLAND, Ore. (NBA.com exclusive) -- It wasn't a masterpiece. Near the end, there were some anxious moments.
But the Trail Blazers' opening night can be considered a success with a 96-87 victory over the Houston Rockets Tuesday at the Rose Garden.
It was a matchup of teams that squared off in the first round of the playoffs last season, with Houston winning in six games. The Rockets aren't the same team, missing injured stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady and the departed Ron Artest.
Playing at home with a much bigger, much deeper lineup, the Blazers had enough good stretches to put away the Rockets in fairly comfortable fashion.
Portland did squander a 20-point fourth-quarter lead that shrunk to eight with more than three minutes remaining before taking care of business. And the Blazers had 26 turnovers -- more than they had in a single game last season.
But there were plenty of good signs, too, from a Portland team that is expected to make a solid run at the Northwest Division championship.
The Blazers held Houston to .370 shooting, owned the backboards (51-33), blocked 12 shots and shot superbly from 3-point range (.476) and free-throw line (.909).
"I saw some good stuff," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We did a good job running our offense and defensively trying to control [the Rockets]. Other than the turnovers and our early fouls, it was pretty good. But this will probably be the last game we win with 26 turnovers."
Houston's late run made the final count respectable, but coach Rick Adelman wasn't happy with a lot of aspects of the Rockets' opening performance.
"We didn't play well as a team," Adelman said. "We tried to do everything one-on-one and made a lot of mistakes in the second quarter that gave [the Blazers] some easy baskets that were unnecessary.
"We just make too many mental mistakes throughout the course of the game. We don't have the ability to match up with them like we did in the playoffs last year. Maybe we'll get to that at some point. We'll have to make some adjustments for when we play them again Saturday."
After a preseason in which he shot only .375 from the field, Portland's Travis Outlaw provided a huge lift off the bench with a game-high 23 points, 14 coming in the first half, on 9-for-14 shooting.
"I really wasn't that worried about the preseason," Outlaw said. "That's when you're trying things and fine-tuning. It wasn't like it was the playoffs.
"I came into the game night just to be calm, not trying to force anything. If the shot's there, it's there."
Portland centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge all experienced foul trouble, which limited their offensive production. The 7-foot Oden -- defended by 6-foot-6 Chuck Hayes much of the night -- had 12 rebounds and five blocks. But Oden picked up five fouls that limited him to 26 minutes, had seven turnovers and scored only two points -- a put-back with a minute remaining.
"It was all right for the first game," the second-year pro said. "You definitely want a lot more points, but I did some good things that don't show up in the stat sheet. I feel OK with the performance. I want to cut down on the turnovers, but we came through with a victory."
Przybilla fouled out with two points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes.
"Houston's [big men] are small but they're good, smart defenders," McMillan said. "Hayes, [Luis] Scola, [Carl] Landry -- those guys do a nice job. They baited our bigs into rushing things at times, and we turned the ball over way too often."
Houston will have to try to use its quickness and transition game to full advantage. The Rockets won the battle in fastbreak points 16-8, but only Aaron Brooks (19 points on 8-for-17) and 29-year-old rookie forward David Andersen (11 on 4-for-8) shot well.
Portland, meanwhile, can use its size and depth, even with the loss of starting small forward Nicolas Batum, who will undergo surgery Friday for a torn right labrum and be lost for at least three months. McMillan used a nine-man rotation Tuesday, and a group of reserves -- Przybilla, Outlaw, Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez -- paired with starter Martell Webster for most of a 31-point second quarter that featured runs of 11-0 and 9-0.
'We played hard, we played aggressive," said Portland's All-Star guard Brandon Roy, who contributed 20 points, five rebounds and five assists despite a 5-for-18 shooting night. "We were sloppy, had too many turnovers.
"We built a nice lead, but the biggest thing is, we didn't put [the Rockets] away when we had a chance to. But again, first game. We're just happy to take this win. That's one under our belts."