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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blazers vs. Rockets - Hot Live Blog Action

Posted by Rob Simonsen on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 6:24 PM

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Live from the Moda Center my living room couch as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Houston Rockets Houston Rockets host the Portland Trail Blazers.

A live blog for an away game?! You’re damn right, it’s all happening. This is a pivotal game five, and the Blazers are one win away from making the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Plus we all could use an additional opportunity to mock Dwight Howard, right?

Four games in and we've already had three overtimes. Portland is leading the series 3-1, but they have only outscored their opponent by a grand total of seven points. This matchup is nuts. Tonight is going to be nuts. Make sure your seatbelt is securely fashioned and your nitroglycerin pills are close by.

The one plus side to live blogging an away game? When I stress drink myself stupid, only my wife will give me shameful looks instead of everyone on press row.

PRE-GAME:
At this point, there isn't much to say about this series that hasn't already been said. These teams are about as evenly matched as you can get. Well, unless you count defense, because then Portland is clearly the better team. Call it the James Harden effect.

Portland has a chance to close this one out, and the hope is the next time they play in the Moda Center it will be against a different team from Texas. If they can come out aggressive to start, this Rockets team might just roll over at the first sign of adversity. Or, you know, James Harden will drop sixty and the pressure will be back on the Blazers to win game six. Who knows with this series? Dwight Howard pulling a Richie Tenenbaum and taking his shoes off at mid-court seems totally reasonable at this point.

Bobby mentioned it earlier, but the patches the Blazers will wear in honor of Dr. Jack for the remainder of the playoffs are amazing. Apparently they were so well received that the fan shop will start to sell them.

Wait, did I mention that the Blazers could make the second round if they win tonight?! Second round! Here we go!

FIRST QUARTER:
11:38 - Well, the Rockets went right to Dwight Howard in the post to start, and he scored with ease. The Rockets are going to go to him nonstop, and that might not be a bad thing. 2-0 Rockets.

10:14 - Howard is active. Unfortunately, he got a little too aggressive with that block attempt and picked up the goal tend on a Robin Lopez push shot. 5-4 Rockets.

8:28 - Patrick Beverley may have a bit of a fever, but the only thing that's hot tonight is his shooting. He looks as active as he's been all series. The Rockets are playing with some fire. 9-9 Tie.

6:45 - Wesley Matthews is picking up right where he left off, hitting a fadeaway jumper with the shot clock running down. His contributions can't be overstated. Dude is a rock. 13-11 Blazers.

5:49 - After the Rockets get a call to go their way—James Harden fumbled it out of bounds but the refs gave the ball to Houston—they immediately turned it over. Ball don't lie. Wesley Matthews will have two free throws coming after this timeout. You know what I miss from the doing this at the arena? No commercials. 15-13 Blazers.

5:34 - Oh, no. A late call comes in on LaMarcus Aldridge, and that's his second foul. Brutal. There wasn't much contact there. He'll have to sit for the rest of the quarter. 17-13 Blazers.

4:40 - Foul trouble city! Dorell Wright just used one of his patented pump fakes to pick up a second foul on Dwight Howard, and he'll have to sit down as well. 21-17 Blazers.

4:04 - Jump ball city! First it was Damian Lillard against Jeremy Lin, and then it was Nicolas Batum against Jeremy Lin after the first tip ended up in held ball. Batum won the second tip, but it went right to Chandler Parsons who had a massive dunk in transition. 21-21 Tie.

3:29 - Oh, goodness. Lin stole the ball from Dorell Wright, and it led right to a Chandler Parsons corner three. That's five straight for Parsons, and Portland needs time. 24-21 Rockets.

2:55 - Mo Williams with four straight. I guess he threw shade at Troy Daniels for a reason. 25-24 Blazers.

2:38 - Parsons lowered his shoulder into Mo Williams, and the refs initially called it a flagrant. After reviewed, it was updated to a common foul. Troy Daniels retaliation? Probably, if the crowd cheering is any indication. 26-25 Rockets.

0:54 - The Rockets are having success using Asik in the pick and roll. The lane has been wide open, and the dunks have been plentiful. 30-27 Rockets.

0:00 - Harden missed a three as time expired, and his shooting woes continue. As the teams headed to their respective benches, Mo Williams and Patrick Beverley appeared to be giving each other what for. One of the refs had to hold Beverley back to keep them separated. Someone is drawing blood tonight. 30-27 Rockets.

SECOND QUARTER:
11:36 - Another jump ball! Kris Kross is going to make bank on royalties because of this game. For the third time in a row, the Blazers lose it. 32-27 Rockets.

11:09 - Patrick Beverley flopped and picked up an offensive foul on Mo Williams, and the crowd is loving it. The Blazers are getting a little sloppy, looking a little rattled. 34-27 Rockets.

10:08 - The Rockets are destroying the Blazers on loose balls and hustle plays. This is rough. 38-27 Rockets.

9:39 - How does a 15-0 run sound? That's what the Rockets are working on. The Blazers can't score, are turning the ball over on nearly every possession, and Houston is just punching them in the mouth. A Troy Daniels three caps a wild flurry, and Portland needs time. 41-27 Rockets.

9:28 - Right out of the timeout, the Blazers turn it over. Ugh. This is real bad. Who needs a drink? 41-27 Rockets.

8:42 - Aldridge is able to pick up a foul on Terrence Jones and will go to the line for two free throws. As long as he doesn't miss, the 15-0 run will be over! First one is down! Second one is down! Whew. Baby steps. 41-29 Rockets.

8:29 - Dwight Howard with his third foul! He picked it up making a move on Thomas Robinson, throwing an elbow as he made his move. He'll have to head back to the bench for the rest of the half. 41-29 Rockets.

7:42 - Alright! Here we go. LaMarcus Aldridge grabbed an offensive foul and hit a jumper right in Asik's face. Portland is working on a 7-0 run of their own. 41-34 Rockets.

7:23 - Matthews didn't touch Harden, yet Harden was still able to pick up a foul to go with his made basket. Brutal. 44-34 Rockets.

6:02 - Thomas Robinson had his shot goattended, but no whistle. It was a clear goaltend. Nothing. The resulting play was a Chandler Parsons fast break dunk, and Houston is fired up. They are on a 7-0 run of their own, after Portland did a good job of getting it within striking distance. 48-34 Rockets.

5:15 - The wheels are off. Lin drained a three. Matthews missed a gimme at the rim. Houston is running away with this. 51-34 Rockets.

4:28 - Finally, Lillard stops the bleeding. He went up high to corral a loose ball, drove the length of the floor, and put it in right around Asik. The Blazers are rattled, but Lillard is still calm, cool, and collected. Portland melted after that missed goaltend, but they can't fall apart. Time to finish this quarter out strong. 51-36 Rockets.

2:32 - What a game of runs. A Lillard three just gave Portland a 6-0 run of their own. Lillard is owning this game, with sixteen points already. 51-42 Rockets.

1:56 - The Blazers just got a whistle to go their way, with LaMarcus Aldridge picking up a foul on Asik. But, ball don't lie. He missed both freebies. 53-42 Rockets.

1:09 - Batum just went backdoor on James Harden (defense!!) for a wide open dunk. Portland is on a 12-2 run, and have cut this back to a much more manageable seven points. Oh, and Lillard is working on a triple double. 53-46 Rockets.

0:44 - The Blazers played an amazing 23 second of defense, but Lin drained a three pointer as the clock expired. What a rough end to a great defensive possession that included a huge Robin Lopez block. 56-46 Rockets.

0:00 - As the quarter ended, Lillard was hammered by Asik with no call. I don't think anyone is happy with the refs tonight. Especially Terry Stotts. He's on track to get a technical before this game is over. 56-48 Rockets.

THIRD QUARTER:
11:36 - Robin Lopez with the slowest dunk of all time. He pump-faked, drove, and put it in right over Asik. Plus the foul. 56-50 Rockets.

10:03 - Asik with his fourth foul! He's still in the game, but that's huge. Aldridge has been struggling against his length tonight. 58-52 Rockets.

8:18 - Matthews! Back to back threes! 62-58 Rockets.

6:56 - Harden with a dead ball foul. He literally grabbed Matthews' jersey in an attempt to slow him down, because, you know, running was a little too much effort. He's the worst. 67-60 Rockets.

5:27 - The Blazers need to stop giving up offensive rebounds, and they need to stop giving the Rockets second-chance points. Aldridge fouled Asik on a rebound attempt, and the Rockets are going to get another chance off of a miss. The Blazers won't be able to make a lasting run this way. 69-62 Rockets.

4:04 - Batum with four straight points! He scored on a dunk, scored on a step-back jumper, and did a great job defending Parsons in between. 71-66 Rockets.

2:50 - Robin Lopez got beat by Howard, and did his best to wrap him up and not give up a three-point play. Problem is, he went for nothing but head, dragging Howard down the ground by the shoulders. That was the definition of a flagrant foul, and the Blazers just can't quite get over the hump. 73-68 Rockets.

2:11 - LaMarcus isn't scoring well, but he can still pass out of a double-team. The Rockets sent help, and Aldridge hit Batum for an open three. 76-71 Rockets.

1:42 - Wesley for three! Matthews has been killing it this quarter. He's keeping Portland afloat. 77-74 Rockets.

1:10 - Once again, Lin bails out the Rockets after an amazing 23 seconds of defense. The Blazers couldn't have played that much better, but Lin was able to drain a three with Matthews all up in his grill. That's so demoralizing for a defense. 80-74 Rockets.

0:49 - Matthews for three! 80-77 Rockets.

0:40 - Lin for three, the old fashioned way, to get it right back. Matthews and Lin are trading haymakers right now. 83-77 Rockets.

0:00 - Mo Williams had a three just rattle out off of a wide open look. Luckily, Lin wasn't able to convert on Houston's final possession of the quarter, leaving a fadeaway jumper about a foot short. It's going to be another wild finish. 83-77 Rockets.

FOURTH QUARTER:
12:00 - A Jeremy Lin three has been changed to a two. Every little bit helps. 82-77 Rockets.

11:22 - Oh, what a pass by Batum to Lopez. He just ran the pick and roll to perfection, and Lopez picked up the the basket with the foul. But, for the second time tonight, he wasn't able to convert on the three-point play, missing the free throw. 84-79 Rockets.

10:00 - Lopez is spending the quarter getting hacked. He's picked up three fouls on the Rockets already. And, finally, he hit two free throws! He's 3-6 on the night, which is much lower than his average. 87-82 Rockets.

9:21 - So, uh, Linsanity is still a thing? Jeremy Lin is leading the Rockets with 21 points, and he's all over Mo Williams this quarter. Williams just can't stay with him, is going under picks, and Lin is knocking down shots. Timeout Portland, hopefully to get their defense in order. 91-82 Rockets.

9:07 - Wow. Portland is in the bonus. Asik picked up his fifth foul on a boneheaded play, and Batum drained both freebies. Time to attack. Get your points at the free throw line. 91-84 Rockets.

8:06 - Batum! Unintelligible screaming! Nicolas made a sweet step-back jumper, then hit a rolling Lopez for a wide open dunk on the next possession. Somehow this is a three-point game. 91-88 Rockets.

7:36 - Holy hell! What a defensive possession. The Blazers had two blocks, and were able to come away with a loose ball off of one of those blocks. Dame was fouled, and he was able to hit both freebies. This is a one point game! 91-90 Rockets.

6:24 - Lopez and Howard going at each other! And, somehow, Lopez is just about keeping pace. He's got seventeen points to Howard's twenty-two. 95-92 Rockets.

5:26 - Chandler Parsons went to the line, made the first but missed the second. Howard was able to grab the offensive rebound and, of course, Parsons scored on a nice cut to the rim. That was the worst possible outcome. 98-94 Rockets.

4:55 - Sixth foul on Asik. He's done. That is huge, and Lillard was able to knock down both freebies. 98-96 Rockets.

3:15 - James Harden has been off all night. He's been timid and almost afraid to shoot. But he just drained that three with ease. Huge. 103-98 Rockets.

2:11 - The Blazers get another block, but Terrence Jones was able to grab the offense rebound and put it back in. This was in Portland's hands, but now it's not looking so good. The Blazers need a stop in the worst way. They need to clean up the defensive glass. 105-98 Rockets.

1:46 - Shot clock violation out of the timeout. Brutal. 105-98 Rockets.

1:29 - James Harden picks up a foul on Wesley Matthews, and he's able to hit both free throws. I hope y'all are ready for game six in Portland. 107-98 Rockets.

1:05 - The scrubs are in, the white flag is out. The Blazers almost had that game, and that was with mostly a zero from LaMarcus Aldridge. They were within one, but the offense just flatlined the final three minutes. 108-98 Rockets.

FINAL: 108-98 Rockets. At least it didn't come down to the final possession. The Rockets closed this one out strong, and the series will head back to Portland for game six on Friday. The Blazers will have to own that game. This series can't go back to Houston for game seven.

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