Blast Off: Trail Blazers Ripped By Rockets In Clutch City

Andrew GloverCorrespondent IMay 1, 2009

Ron Artest had 27 points as the Houston Rockets outscored the Portland Trail Blazers 31-18 in the second quarter, and advanced to the second round with a 92-76 victory in Game Six.

The Rockets have not advanced past the first round since the 1996-97 playoff season when they advanced to the Western Conference finals. The win gave Yao Ming and Shane Battier their first appearance in the second round.

The Rockets started quickly, going on a 7-2 run to open the game. The Trail Blazers would tie the game two minutes later. LaMarcus Aldridge scored Portland’s first four points of the game, and he made a jump shot to give Portland their first lead, 11-9 with 5:58 left in the first.

The Trail Blazers’ largest lead in the first would be four points, leading by that total three times in a two-minute time span. The Blazers led 17-13 with more than three minutes left in the quarter.

In the last three minutes, the Rockets closed out the quarter on an 8-2 run, to lead 21-19 after one. Artest scored seven of the Rockets’ eight points to close out the quarter.

In the second quarter the Rockets started where they left off. Houston went on a 13-2 run to lead 34-21 with 7:20 left in the second.

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The Rockets maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the second quarter, with the Trail Blazers only able to draw within 10. Houston led 52-37 at halftime.

Houston maintained their halftime lead in the third quarter. The Rockets opened with a 8-4 run to increase their lead to 58-41 with 8:41 left in the quarter. The longest run for the Trail Blazers was four points.

The closest the Trail Blazers got to the Rockets in the fourth quarter was 13 as they scored the first five points of the quarter. Houston would lead by as many as 20 in the fourth.

Both teams shot fairly evenly in the game. The Rockets shot 46 percent from the field, while the Trail Blazers shot 42 percent. Houston shot 37 percent from the three-point line and Portland shot 36 percent. The Rockets shot 78 percent from the foul line; Portland shot 75 percent.

The major factor in the game was contributing. Brandon Roy and Aldridge accounted for 48 of the Trail Blazers 76 points. The Rockets had three players in double-figures. Artest had 27, Yao had 17, and Aaron Brooks had 13.

Artest led the Rockets in scoring with 27, and the Rockets' starting five (Artest, Yao, Brooks, Scola, and Battier) scored 73 of their 92 points.

Yao had a double double with 17 points and led the team in rebounds with 10. Kyle Lowry led the team in assists with three and Battier led the team in steals with three.

Aldridge led the Trail Blazers in scoring with 26. Portland’s starters were outscored 73-55. Roy scored 22 points.

Rudy Fernandez and Joel Przybilla led the team in rebounds with eight each. Przybilla led the team in blocks with five and Steve Blake led the team in assists with five.

The Rockets will face the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, who defeated the Utah Jazz in five, in the second round, which starts Monday at Los Angeles.

Dikembe Mutombo attended the game after his surgery and was on crutches when he greeted Yao Ming after the game.

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