The Houston Rockets are simply not a good team right now. Already struggling on the defensive end this year, Houston couldn’t get anything going offensively with MVP James Harden missing the game due to a strained hamstring.
The first half started out sloppy for both teams, with the Rockets at one point 7-for-36 from the field (1-for-12 from deep) with five tunrovers and the Blazers 11-for-29 (2-for-7) with nine turnovers. But Portland caught fire in the second quarter, rattling off a 23-8 run over the final 6:23 to head to halftime with a 51-36 lead.
The third quarter belonged to Jusuf Nurkic, who had two dunks and three point blank layups in the quarter against the soft Houston defense. Portland at one point went up by 28 points behind a Damian Lillard dagger 3-pointer. From that point forward, the game was never in doubt. The Rockets made a late run, but Portland prevailed 104-85.
For the Blazers, Lillard led the way with 22 points and 7 assists. Nurkic finished the game 7-10 from the field for 22 points and 10 rebounds. For contrast, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Eric Gordon combined to shoot 12-49.
The Blazers are now 5-2 on the year and head home after a 3-1 road trip to take on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday from Moda Center.