Portland Blazers vs. Houston Rockets: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston
In a battle between two teams competing for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, the Houston Rockets defeated the Portland Trail Blazers by a score of 118-103. Houston moves to 28-24, while Portland rests at 25-25.
So how did it all go down?
James Harden led the Rockets with 35 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds; Harden posted such numbers on 13-of-16 shooting from the floor.
He wasn't alone—Houston shot 59.5 percent from the field as a team.
For Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge provided 31 points and 11 rebounds. Nicolas Batum added 24 points, while rookie Damian Lillard chipped in 18.
The question is, who made this win possible for the Rockets?
Jeremy Lin, Point Guard
Overall Grade: B
Minutes Played: 26
Stat Line: 16 points, 4 assists, 6/10 FG, 2/3 3PT
Tasked with going toe-to-toe with Rookie of the Year front-runner Damian Lillard, Jeremy Lin stepped up from the opening minute.
With two early three-pointers, Lin sent a message that he wouldn't back down. In the end, Lin managed to prove just that whenever he was on the floor.
The marketing dream finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor.
Lin was caught out of position on defense, over-stepping a screen and allowing Lillard to hit an open J. Lin responded by knocking down a three mere minutes later.
There's very little room to complain about what Lin did Friday night. A very solid performance.
James Harden, Shooting Guard
Overall Grade: A+
Minutes Played: 38
Stat Line: 35 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 13/16 FG, 4/5 3PT
You can't start any hotter than James Harden did Friday night against Portland.
By the time Harden missed his first field goal, he had already accumulated 25 points, eight assists, four rebounds and a steal.
To be clear, the Bearded One made his first nine field goals.
For the game, Harden finished with 35 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and one steal. That includes four three-point field goals.
Most impressive of all, a majority of Harden's points came in the half court.
Harden consistently took his man off of the dribble, exploiting Portland's interior defense with his infamous Euro-step.
From there, Harden attacked the basket and finished with consistency. When he wasn't doing that, he was stepping back for three-pointers.
And to think, through all of his dominant scoring, Harden found the time for 11 assists.
Chandler Parsons, Small Forward
Overall Grade: A
Minutes Played: 38
Stat Line: 20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 8/14 FG, 4/8 3PT
Chandler Parsons always finds a way to quietly stuff a stat sheet.
With James Harden resting to begin the fourth quarter, Parsons took over. The former Florida Gator made two quick baskets and came up with a handful of solid defensive stops.
This left Parsons with 20 points on the game and a well-rounded box score.
Parsons' defensive tenacity was on full display as he read a Portland miscommunication and came up with the steal. Plays like this helped to eliminate the Blazers' interior game.
Their 52 points in the paint came early and often, while Parsons contributed late and in the clutch.
Parsons has yet to receive the respect that he deserves. Friday night, however, he showed what he can do when given the opportunity.
Parsons continues to emerge as one of the fastest-rising performers at his position.
Patrick Patterson, Power Forward
Overall Grade: A-
Minutes Played: 27
Stat Line: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 8/11 FG
Patrick Patterson's shining moment came with just under 7:00 remaining in the third quarter.
Patterson drove the lane, pump faked his man into the air and went up and under for a smooth finish. It was a testament to the progression of the former Kentucky Wildcat.
It was also a sign of things to come, as Patterson scored 12 points in the third quarter alone.
Patterson may not be one of the league's elite power forwards, but he never ceases to contribute in a positive manner.
His shooting has improved significantly, while his ability to work off of the dribble is severely underrated.
Both of those traits were on full display as he took it to the Portland interior.
Omer Asik, Center
Overall Grade: B
Minutes Played: 31
Stat Line: 9 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks, 4 personal fouls, 3/9 FG
With James Harden taking care of the offensive end of the floor, Omer Asik did his part to step up on defense.
You know, when he wasn't tasked with stepping out to defend LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds while being defended by Asik for a majority of the game.
Although Aldridge was able to score at virtual will, Asik kept the Blazers out of the paint with his shot-blocking. For the game, Asik finished with four swats total.
That goes with nine points and 13 rebounds.
During the first quarter, Asik blocked a shot by J.J. Hickson and started a fast break led by James Harden. This was the type of night Asik had.
As Aldridge dominated for Portland, Asik found ways to step up when need be.
Asik's grade is hurt by his inability to slow Aldridge down, but not too significantly.
A respectable outing by Asik.
Carlos Delfino, Sixth Man
Overall Grade: C-
Minutes Played: 22
Stat Line: 5 points, 1 assist, 2/7 FG, 1/5 3PT
Coming off of an elbow injury, Carlos Delfino played his first game since February 2.
Delfino posted five points and an assist on 2-of-7 shooting from the floor. This might suggest that Delfino deserves something close to a failing grade.
Not so fast.
Delfino played active defense and did what he could to disrupt the passing lanes. Although his numbers were disappointing, he was one of the many who spaced the floor for James Harden to go to work.
Expect better from Delfino once the elbow is healed.
Overall Grade: C+
Average +/-: -0.1
Collective Stat Line: 22 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks
On a night in which Toney Douglas went down with an early injury, the Houston Rockets' reserves stepped up in a major way.
While no individual stood out, every player who came in made a positive contribution. Matched up against the NBA's least productive second unit, that's all you could ask for.
Energy and execution.
There may be no moment more telling of the reserves' tenacity than when point guard Patrick Beverly blocked center Meyers Leonard after a foul.
Beverly happened to finish the game with two points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals in 20 minutes of action.
This was the type of effort Houston received from its bench, as players stepped up in flex spots. A solid outing by the Rockets.
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