The Houston Rockets brought a .500 record into the Rose Garden to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. The teams left with identical 4-5 records after a thrilling 119-117 overtime win broke a three-game home losing streak for Portland.
The Rockets' Marcus Morris checked into the game with 0:17 remaining and Houston trailing by three points. He drained a beautiful 27-foot jump-shot to send the game into OT.
But the Rockets went cold over the final 5:00, hitting just 1-of-9 shots from the field. Portland wasn't much better, but LaMarcus Aldridge hit the first of two free throws and later added a nine-foot shot, the last of his 29 points.
Nicolas Batum had a rocky offseason. He wanted Portland to allow him to leave and signed an offer sheet with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Portland general manager Neil Olshey wasn't about to lose his star, matching the $46.5 million offer sheet. Batum showed no ill-will, scoring a career-high 35 points in the game.
The big story leading up to this game was the status of Houston's first-round draft selection, Royce White, who claims he's prepared to walk away from the NBA.
I'm not PLANNING to quit, but if its between my HEALTH and BASKETBALL, health takes precedence. You should never choose ANYTHING over it.— Royce White (@Highway_30) November 16, 2012
James Harden led Houston with 29 points, six rebounds and six assists. However, he had two shots blocked in the final minute of overtime.
Player of the Game: Damian Lillard, PG, Portland
Batum had a huge game. He scored 12 consecutive points for Portland in the third quarter, cutting a 12-point lead down to five. He also blocked one of Harden's shots at the end of overtime.
Damian Lillard's contribution was more important, though. Trailing 100-93, Lillard rallied with 11 fourth-quarter points to help the Trail Blazers take the lead.
He added the last five of his 27 points in overtime to help secure the win.
Up Next for the Rockets
Houston plays the second of its three-game road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers (4-5) on Sunday. Their opponent rolled out their new up-tempo style of play on Friday night and looked good doing so.
The Rockets' only loss in the last for games was an 84-82 loss to San Antonio.
Up Next for the Trail Blazers
The Chicago Bulls (5-3) arrive in town on Sunday to challenge Portland's two-game winning streak. They are in the middle of a five-game road swing that takes them through Los Angeles to play the Clippers on Saturday.
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.