It was another MVP performance for James Harden as he and the Houston Rockets ended the Portland Trail Blazers 13-game win streak.
Man, if there is one team who can throw a monkey ranch in the Warriors vs. Rockets Western Conference Finals matchup, then the Portland Trail Blazers could be the team.
Following a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Houston Rockets ended their three-game road trip in the North West in a (score) (win/loss) to the Portland Trail Blazers, Tuesday, in the Moda Center in Portland. For one who was hoping for a playoff-style game, then this game did not for short of expectations.
Early in the game
Despite an early nine-points from James Harden, the Rockets had a tough time separating themselves from the Trail Blazers in the first. No, it was because of their all-star point guard, Damian Lillard. Nor was it because of their rising star CJ McCollum. It was due to the hot shooting touch from Al-Farouq Aminu.
While shooting 67 percent from the field, Aminu scored a season-high 16 first-quarter points to lead the Trail Blazers to a 31-27 led in the first 12 minutes. However, just like the Rockets could not stop Aminu, the Trail Blazers did not have an answer for Harden.
The league’s MVP leader turn the Moda Center into his own personal playground. Following scoring Houston’s first nine points of the game, Harden would finish the half scoring 21 points on 50 percent shooting from the field.
His performance in the first 24 minutes might have been his best half of the season. Yet, while everyone else struggled to create plays, Harden found a refuge in Eric Gordan to help lighten the burden.
Gordon’s 11 points at the half were enough to help the Rockets even up the score at 55 apiece going into the break. In the third, it was more of the same from both teams in the second half. Behind Aminu and Maurice Harkless who registered 15 points of his won, the Trail Blazers took an 87-86 lead into the fourth quarter.
Late in the game
Yet, despite the success Portland had against the Rockets, Harden continued to torch the Trail Blazers after scoring 14 third-quarter points in the game.
Despite their success, the Trail Blazers could not run with the Rockets as Chris Paul came out hitting three-straight three-pointers to gave Houston a 100-94 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Although Portland would go on a late fourth-quarter run, it was not enough as the Trail Blazers saw their winning streak snap to the hands of the Rockets. CP3 finished the game with 22 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Despite Paul’s clutch performance, player of the game honors once again goes to Harden.
While shooting 52 percent from the field, Harden would end the game with a remarkable 42 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Following the win, the Rockets will return home to take on the Detroit Pistons Thursday in the Toyota Center.