In an early-season overtime thriller where CJ McCollum hit 9 three-pointers, the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Houston Rockets 128 – 126.
The Portland Trail Blazers have opened their account this season with a thrilling 128 – 126 overtime win over the Houston Rockets.
In one of the most exciting games in recent memory, the Blazers were led by an all-time great performance by CJ McCollum, who had 44 points.
The Rockets were shorthanded from the outset as they came into the game with just nine fit players due to COVID restrictions taking out main contributors Eric Gordon, John Wall, and DeMarcus Cousins.
James Harden didn’t seem to be impacted by his absence from Rockets training camp, or the fact that this was his first game of the season. He either got to the line with ease or hit threes to go along with countless made layups.
McCollum matched him all game though, albeit on fewer shots and fewer free throws. Lillard wasn’t his usual efficient self, but he still chimed in with made threes and some nice reads to set up his teammates.
The Blazers went into the half down by ten, mainly because of some porous defense and Wood’s dominant performance.
In the second half, the Blazers got back into the game with some amazing shot-making by McCollum. He traded shots with Harden as the Blazers worked their way back to an even game, then the lead.
Though Lillard struggled to get to the rim, he could still hit threes and help McCollum get the Blazers that lead.
Though Jusuf Nurkic didn’t have a great game, he linked well with McCollum on some back door cuts and played physical defense on Wood down low.
In the fourth quarter, the lead went back and forth, then neither team was able to score as Nurkic went to the line with the score tied, and 32 seconds on the clock. He missed both, and then a Rockets miss meant the game went to OT.
McCollum was cooking in the overtime period, as he hit shot after shot on the Rockets defense. Harden was matching him for shot for shot. With 38 seconds left in OT, Harden leveled the scores with a three, then Lillard went straight back with an impressive reverse layup.
Harden then made a three on the next possession to give the Rockets a one-point lead. Terry Stotts called timeout and drew up a play. It looked like Lillard was going to take it to the cup, but he kicked it out to McCollum who made the game-winning three.
Though the Blazers defense struggled all night, the offense was better than in the first game, and the Blazers now have their all-important first win.
McCollum finished with a career-high nine made threes. Harden also finished with 44 points.
The Blazers next game is Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.