James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined 64 points as the Houston Rockets won the battle of the backcourts with their 132-108 victory over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers on Monday at Toyota Center.
While Harden did the heavy lifting prior to the halftime intermission, scoring 23 of his 36 points on 6-of-12 shooting, Westbrook came alive in the second half with 15 of his 28 points, adding 13 rebounds and 10 assists overall as Houston extended its winning streak to eight consecutive games.
The Rockets were bolstered by the return of center Clint Capela and forward Danuel House Jr. Capela, sidelined two games after suffering a concussion in the fourth quarter last Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers, dominated the paint with 22 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks. House, out three games with a sore back, went 3-for-6 from 3-point range and scored 11 points.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Trail Blazers' high-scoring guard tandem, totaled 38 points on 14-of-34 shooting, with Lillard missing 11 of his 15 shots while shooting 1 of 6 on 3-pointers. Lillard did add 11 assists but Portland failed to keep pace when the Rockets seized control down the stretch of the first half.
The Trail Blazers have dropped seven of their last nine games.
It was Harden who provided the Rockets an advantage they would not relinquish, sandwiching two 3s around a driving layup to help Houston build a 54-44 lead with 4:06 left in the half. Harden added his second four-point play of the half with 73 seconds remaining as the Rockets carried a 64-50 lead into the break.
Westbrook attacked the rim with fervor in the third quarter to keep the Rockets rolling along, scoring nine points in the period as Houston methodically pulled away.
P.J. Tucker chipped in 13 points for the Rockets, who made 17 of 45 3s and posted a plus-14 rebounding margin (58-44) over Portland. Three reserves scored in double figures for the Trail Blazers, with Skal Labissiere pairing 15 points with six rebounds while Kent Bazemore added 11 points and five assists and Anfernee Simons scored 10. Starters Nassir Little and Hassan Whiteside scored 11 apiece for Portland.
--Field Level Media