Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for HOU

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Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for HOU
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Rockets continue to muscle their way towards the all-important sixth seed.

The Houston Rockets traveled to the Rose Garden on Friday night for a tilt with the Portland Trail Blazers, and they emerged 116-98 victors.

James Harden led the way for Houston yet again, with 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Jeremy Lin chipped in 22 points and eight dimes of his own.

Portland big man LaMarcus Aldridge abused Houston's frontcourt for 24 points and 10 rebounds...in the first half, but the Rockets still led 63-56 at the break. They limited Aldridge to eight second-half points, and Portland struggled to find an alternative.

Houston outshot the Blazers by nearly seven percent in the first half, but a 25-18 rebounding advantage for Portland helped keep it close.

The Rockets ratcheted up both their defense and intensity on the boards in the second half as they cruised to victory. They led by 15 after three quarters and never looked back. 

The Trail Blazers ended the game shooting just 41.8 percent, including 2-of-20 from three-point range. Houston shot 12-of-28 from downtown and that alone explains the margin of victory.

Portland came into Friday nine games under .500, but it had been 22-14 at home.

The Rockets have run-and-gunned their way to a 43-33 record, putting them in seventh place and only one game behind the Golden State Warriors.

Sneaking in as the No. 6 seed would almost certainly avoid the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, so you can be sure Houston will fight its way down the stretch.

Now let's mail out the report cards.

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