Houston : 116 : : Portland : 98 — April 5, 2013
There’s not much to say here for Houston because they beat a team they’re supposed to beat in the exact way they’re supposed to beat them. James Harden had 33/7/6 and can shoot well and draw a lot of fouls. Cool for Houston, I guess, because everyone else on their team had a good night too. For Portland, things were not so great, even though they made mild threats every so often that they might make it close. Those runs coincided with not shooting a ton of threes and going to LaMarcus Aldridge (who returned after missing four games to post 32 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 assists) instead, but neither of those things happened nearly enough.
On defense, Portland wasn’t guarding the three-point arc at all, eventually switching to a zone defense to really drive that point home, and Houston shot 42.9% from three compared to Portland’s 10%. Honestly the Blazers don’t even need better shooters though (please don’t call J.J. Redick this summer), they just need to take better shots. Portland has really good shooters, but they don’t move the ball in a way that maximizes their potential. Add to that an atrocious all around defense and you have a team missing a ton of three pointers as they try to mount a big comeback every single night they take the floor. They actually pulled off a number of comebacks earlier this year, but no team in the league can truly compete like that. All the J.J. Redicks in the universe can’t save you if you give up infinity points and don’t get them good looks by putting pressure on opposing interior defenses.
Anyway, Damian Lillard wore a headband and a shoulder sleeve so he looked like every NBA 2K Create-a-Player I’ve ever made. That is literally the most interesting bit of information from this game.