The Houston Rockets defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 121-112 thanks to some stellar guard play.
The Rockets (29-11) got a spectacular performance out of the backcourt as they out dueled the Trail Blazers (22-19). Damian Lillard returned for Portland, but it wasn’t enough to derail Chris Paul as he went off for a season high 37 points. Also joining the party was Eric Gordon adding in another 30 points on the evening.
Meanwhile, the Blazers were coming off an impressive win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, minus Lillard. On the evening, Lillard scored 29 points and had 8 assists, while his backcourt mate, C.J. McCollum, had 24 points and 4 assists on the night.
With the injuries in Houston, the Rockets see what they miss on defense without Luc Mbah a Moute and Nene. Hopefully those guys will be back and ready to go soon, along with James Harden, who could return next week.
Here are the stats of the night:
Chris Paul: 37 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds
Eric Gordon: 30 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Clint Capela: 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks
While the team has been playing shorthanded, the Rockets still maintain the second best record in the West. With the likes of Harden and Mbah a Moute returning soon, expect the defensive intensity to ramp up again and the scoring to continue. However, the Rockets have lost their edge defensively. If they expect to compete, that must improve.
Unfortunately, Ryan Anderson still can’t find a rhythm. While the Rockets can survive in January without him, come playoff time that won’t be the case. In order for this offense to run at maximum efficiency, all shooters must be ready to knock down shots. 8 points from a capable scorer like him is just not enough.
Another dud on the evening was Trevor Ariza. After being lethal from behind the arc and scoring 18 against the Bulls, Ariza went cold and didn’t score a single point on the evening. Unlike Anderson however, Trevor has been playing well all season and this was probably just an off night.
As for Portland, outside of their star-studded backcourt, the only real contribution they got was from Evan Turner and Ed Davis. Turner scored 18 points on 7/11 shooting and Davis chimed in with 11 points on 100 percent shooting along with 2 blocks.
Check out the full highlights of the game!
Up next for the Rockets is the Phoenix Suns out in Arizona on Friday! As expected, the Rockets should take care of business but go into Phoenix hungry and ready to play. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for more Rockets!