If the Houston Rockets can’t contain LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, this best-of-seven affair could be a short one in favor of the Portland Trail Blazers. James Harden, Dwight Howard and the rest of the Rockets host the Blazers for Game 2 of the series hoping to bounce back and avoid a 0-2 hole before the series shifts to Portland.
The Blazers beat the Rockets, 122-120 in overtime and stole homecourt advantage.
Aldridge finished with 46 points—highest so far in this NBA Playoffs—while Lillard was clutch down the stretch. The Portland big man added 18 rebounds and 2 blocked shots while the spitfire point guard had 31 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in his playoff debut.
The pair is expected to spell trouble once again for the Rockets, which had the lead to start the 4th quarter but gave up 33 points in the payoff period as the Blazers forced the extra period.
The Rockets' offense wasn't the problem although they did falter down the stretch. James Harden had 27 points but was ineffective with just 8-of-28 field goal shooting. This included two shots inside the final minute.
Dwight Howard, who had a huge double-double of 27 points and 15 boards remained positive despite the loss.
"We lost a game we should have won but we've got a brand new game," Howard said in the league’s official website.
"The series is not over ... there's no need to put our heads down. Just stay together. We didn't let any negative thoughts get in our head. Don't let this one game dictate how we're going to play for the rest of the series."
Watch Game 2 of the Portland-Houston series via NBA League Pass.
Betting Lines: Portland Trail Blazers (+6.5) vs. Houston Rockets (O/U:215.0) Game time: 11:30 am AEDT
Betting Against the Spread (ATS)
Portland Trail Blazers Trends - The Trail Blazers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on the road - The Trail Blazers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games in the first round of the playoffs
Houston Rockets Trends - The Rockets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games - The Rockets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games vs. West teams - The Rockets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after a loss