NBA playoffs: Blazers 88, Rockets 77
Associated PressPORTLAND, Ore. ó Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 25 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers staved off elimination in the playoffs with an 88-77 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
The Rockets, who have not advanced out of the first round of the playoffs in six tries since 1997, hold a 3-2 advantage in the series going into Thursday night’s game back in Houston.
Luis Scola led the Rockets with 21 points. Yao Ming had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Roy, a two-time All-Star and Portland’s leading scorer, missed practice on Monday because of flu-like symptoms, and Aldridge didn’t practice because of a sore right elbow. Both started Tuesday night.
Houston trailed until the fourth quarter, when Yao and Von Wafer hit consecutive jumpers to put the Rockets ahead 68-64. The Blazers tied it at 68, then Greg Oden had another two free throws to give the Blazers back the lead.
Travis Outlaw and Roy padded it with a pair of 3-pointers to make it 77-68 with 5:21 to go. After Roy added a running jumper, the Rose Garden fans were on their feet, with one fan raising a sign that read “Bring down the Rockets!”
Aaron Brooks hit a running jumper to close the Rockets to 80-75, but it was as close as Houston would come.
Portland went on a 17-4 run in the first quarter, taking a 23-13 lead on Aldridge’s 18-footer. But Houston’s Scola hit seven of nine shots from the floor and ended the quarter with 15 points, and the Rockets cut the deficit to 29-26 to start the second quarter.
The Blazers built a 46-36 lead late in the first half, but the Rockets closed within 48-43 on Yao’s dunk. Roy finished out the half with a driving layup to give Portland a 50-43 lead.
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