Houston survives to play another day.
Facing elimination in what had tight series with Portland — one where the Rockets kept getting outplayed in the fourth quarter — Houston finally closed out a game with authority.
Houston won 108-98 and now trail the Blazers 3-2 in the best-of-seven. Game 6 is Friday night in Portland — that is where the Blazers need to close it out. Go to a Game 7 back in Houston and anything can happen.
There will be a Game 6 due to Jeremy Lin and Dwight Howard.
Lin provided the offensive spark on a night James Harden was 5-of-15 shooting (although he did have 8 points in the fourth quarter). Lin had 21 points and was a huge spark off the bench — that included a couple deep threes with a hand in his face to shut down Portland rallies in the fourth quarter. He played his best playoff game ever.
Dwight Howard has been a beast all series and he was again here — 22 points and 14 rebounds. More than that, Howard was key to the Rockets new defensive strategy of doubling LaMarcus Aldridge hard when he got the ball (which worked).
He was at the heart of the runs the Rockets made — there was a 15-0 run in the second quarter, when at one point the lead reached 17 points.
But as they have all series, the Trail Blazers had answers. Wesley Mathews had 27 points, Robin Lopez had 17 points and eight rebounds. The Rockets’ new defensive strategy on Aldridge held him to 8 points on the night.
With that, Houston played some of their best defense of the series, forcing turnovers and generally pestering Aldridge and the Blazers. Portland needs to find a way to free Aldridge or make the Rockets’ pay for doubling, because they want to close this out Friday night.
The #DriveByDunkChallenge has been a fun distraction this summer. If you don’t know what it is, it essentially involves NBA players jumping out of their cars to dunk on regular folks on community basketball hoops.
Players like Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown have led the charge in the social media video fad, and now it appears that Houston Rockets guard James Harden is setting a new trend.
That trend? Doing the #DriveByDunkChallenge from dang boat.
I can’t think of anything more baller than dunking on somebody from a speed boat, so congrats to Harden for winning the NBA offseason.
I suppose it will take some time to get used to seeing Gordon Hayward in a Boston Celtics jersey. This photo is the first step on that journey.
In a photo posted to Hayward’s Instagram on Wednesday, many of us got our first look at the former Utah Jazz forward in his new digs.
Specifically, the new Celtics Nike jersey in green with the GE patch on the left shoulder.
There are still some serious doubts about whether the Celtics will be able to unseat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, but perhaps they won’t need to wait for long. Rumors are starting to trickle in about LeBron James leaving Ohio, so maybe by the time we are used to seeing Hayward in Celtics green next season they will have less competition out east.
It appears as though Houston billionaire Dan Friedkin will have some competition if he decides to bid for the Rockets. Namely, former NBA big man Dikembe Mutombo.
Mutombo played in the NBA from 1991-2009, ending his career with five seasons in Houston. The franchise apparently made an impact on the Hall of Fame center, as he is apparently looking to buy the franchise per an interview with USA Today.
Speaking with Adi Joseph over at FTW, Mutombo would not give out names of his partners but said that he will be able to make a bid in the coming weeks.
“I’m putting together a group to buy the Houston Rockets, and we’re getting close,” he said. “Getting close in the next couple weeks, maybe I’ll have a chance. Lot of people, lot of people and good people with a lot of money.”
With Leslie Alexander’s decision to sell the team, it certainly would be interesting to get another NBA player as part of team ownership in this league.
The NBA’s top-10 highlight packages have been pretty enjoyable. This one is oddly specific – but still dizzyingly fun.