Rockets 104, Blazers 101

Rockets extend winning streak to 4 with big win over Trail Blazers

Rockets extend winning streak to 4 with big win over Trail Blazers
Rockets win again! Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

After an ugly 1st quarter of basketball, but the Houston Rockets went on an 8-0 run in the 2nd quarter. The Rockets were down 32-17 at the start of the 2nd period but the play of Christian Wood, Victor Oladipo, and John Wall eclipsed the Portland Trail Blazers' defense. The big three of the Rockets had a grand total of 37 points to close out the 2nd half. Although it was slow start for the Rockets, they finished the half strong.

Damian Lillard was on fire against the Rockets defense in the 1st quarter but throughout the game, the Rockets' 2-3 zone limited those easy shots off pin downs. Houston's defense was allowing Lillard's teammates to take open shots, which Stephen Silas could live with. While Lillard was fighting for an open shot, Gary Trent Jr. shot four straight three-pointers in a row. Trent became the reason the Trail Blazers made it extremely close toward the end of the 3rd quarter. Lillard did finish with 30 points while Trent had 23 points. Trent and Lillard combined for 36 points behind the arc.

Even though the Rockets allowed Trent and Lillard to get their share of points, their defense found ways to get crucial stops. The Rockets' defensive rating was a 101.0 versus the Trail Blazers for the entire game. They caused Lillard to turn the ball over in crucial situations by trapping him along the perimeter. Lillard led his team with four turnovers because of the physical play of Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker. Those two became ferocious above the perimeter, so Lillard didn't have clean looks at the basket. Off 15 turnovers from the Blazers, the Rockets collected 22 points. The Rockets' defensive rating is No. 4 in the NBA, including having the best defensive rating since James Harden departed to the Brooklyn Nets. Hopefully, the Rockets keep up their tough defensive efforts.

"We did a little bit of everything tonight. We were in our drop, we were in blitzes, we switched," as Silas discussed the defensive strategy. "We did a little bit of everything cause they're so hard to guard. Lillard is one of the hardest guys to prepare for in the league..."

The Rockets big three were the difference in the game as John Wall, Christian Wood, and Victor Oladipo finished with 67 points.

Wall was able to use his blistering speed as he constantly beat the Trail Blazers in transition and finished with 20 points. Wood had the slowest start out of the three in the 1st quarter. Silas eventually pulled Wood to relax his nerves as he became dangerous throughout the 2nd quarter. Wood scored 14 points in the 2nd quarter, which sparked various runs for the Rockets so they could take the lead before halftime. He displayed an All-Star performance with ferocious dunks and rebounding. Wood became difficult to contain in the paint and in transition. At the end of Thursday night, Wood finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Although Oladipo only shot 20 percent from the perimeter, he was aggressive in transition and found success attacking the paint. Oladipo found various driving lanes so he was able to collect 25 points off 47.8 percent shooting from the field. With 26.2 seconds left, Oladipo closed the game out on an acrobatic layup.

The Rockets are on a four-game winning streak because of their defense and grit. They seem to be playing with a chip on their shoulder since James Harden left.

Next up: The Rockets head to New Orleans to play the Pelicans on Saturday night.

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Astros defeat the Orioles, 14-11. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer, Jose Altuve and rookie Joey Loperfido added three hits each and the Houston Astros used a nine-run sixth inning to pull away for a 14-11 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

Houston set a season-high in runs, a day after the Orioles had their highest-scoring game of the year in a 17-5 win over the Yankees.

The Astros trailed by 1 and had two on with two outs in the fifth inning when Meyers sent a pitch from Grayson Rodriguez (8-3) into the seats in left field to make it 5-3.

Houston sent 13 batters to the plate as they tacked on nine runs in the sixth to extend the lead to 14-3. The nine runs are the most by the Astros in an inning this season. They hit five doubles in the frame, including two from Loperfido.

Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson homered twice to give him 24 this season, which ranks second in the majors behind Aaron Judge’s 27. The Orioles, who lead the majors with 123 home runs, have homered in 20 consecutive games, which is tied for the longest streak in franchise history.

Henderson’s first home run was a solo shot in the seventh. Henderson, Jorge Mateo and Anthony Santander each hit two-run homers in Baltimore’s seven-run eighth that cut the lead to 14-11.

Adley Rutschman had a career-high five hits as Baltimore lost for just the second time in six games.

Houston starter Jake Bloss allowed six hits and two runs with two strikeouts in his major league debut before leaving with right shoulder discomfort with two outs in the fourth inning.

Bloss joined the major league team despite never pitching in Triple-A with Houston’s rotation decimated by injuries. The 22-year-old Bloss, who was drafted in the third round last year, was 4-2 with a 1.74 ERA in 12 minor league starts between High-A and Double-A this season.

Shawn Dubin (1-1) permitted three hits and a run in 2 1/3 innings. Bryan Abreu pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Rodriguez allowed nine hits and seven runs in 5-plus innings.

There was a delay in the middle of the fourth inning when home plate umpire Scott Barry left the game after being hit in the mask with a foul tip. Second base umpire Tom Hanahan took over behind the plate.


Astros: C Victor Caratini was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hip flexor. … Loperfido was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to take his spot on the roster.


Houston RHP Ronel Blanco (7-2, 2.43) opposes RHP Corbin Burnes (8-2, 2.14) when the series continues Saturday.

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