----- Chris Paul hits a game-winning driving layup with 0.8 seconds remaining as the Houston Rockets send the Blazers to their second-straight loss 96-94 Thursday night in Houston, TX.
Chris Paul once again upset the Blazers with a layup but this time it was a game-winner. Paul's driving off-balance shot with 0.8 seconds remaining on the clock gave the Rockets a 96-94 win over the Blazers and sweep of the season-series.
The Rockets led by as much as 24 points and took a 17-point lead at 94-77 with 3:57 to play after a James Harden bucket which led to a Terry Stotts timeout. Stotts cleared his bench and went with Wade Baldwin IV, the lone reserve to log more than 30 minutes, along with Caleb Swanigan, Pat Connaughton, Georgios Papagiannis and Jake Layman. That group would go on an improbably 17-0 run to tie the game at 94-94 after Connaughton connected on a driving layup.
"Those guys at the end just worked their asses off," Stotts said. "Played hard, were aggressive defensively. It was really impressive. Too bad we couldn't go to overtime or win it, but I was really proud of the way they played."
Baldwin led the bench with 14 points and two steals. "Everybody has to play hard no matter what," said Baldwin, "I know we put in all the guys who don't play a lot; everybody's hungry. Everybody wants to play in this league, everybody wants to show what they can do. I think everybody did a fantastic job of showing tonight."
CJ McCollum led Portland (48-31) with 16 points, but he committed six turnovers and connected on just 7-for-25 from the field including just 2-for-9 from three-point range. Jusuf Nurkic had a solid night recording another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds on 7-for-12 shooting.
Paul Led Houston (64-15) with 27 points and James Harden added 24 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. This Rockets have now won 20-straight games at the Toyota Center.
INJURY UPDATE- Damian Lillard plans to play Saturday night in San Antonio against the Spurs, and Ed Davis plans on returning to the lineup sometime on the current road trip.
NEXT UP- The Trail Blazers will travel to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Saturday night. The game is scheduled to tip off at 6:00 PM.
Chad's Take- The Blazers are the worst team in the NBA at passing the ball into the post.