----- Jusuf Nurkic scores 25 points and pulls down 15 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers top the Houston Rockets 110-101 Saturday night at Moda Center.
Evan Turner got the call from Terry Stotts Saturday night and the veteran delivered one of his best performances of the season. Turner got the start in place of Maurice Harkless and with his defense on James Harden, he helped lead the Blazers over one of the hottest teams in the NBA.
Harden scored a game-high 38 points on 35 shots. Harden finished the night 13-for-35 shooting and just 5-for-17 from three-point range. Turner with the help of Al-Farouq Aminu led the defensive charge that frustrated Harden for most of the night.
“They didn’t fall for very many tricks,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, regarding the defense of Turner and Al-Farouq Aminu on Harden. “They were locked in. They didn’t reach. They contested. He got it going in the third quarter, but we didn’t get rattled. I thought they both took a lot of pride in the challenge that they had.”
The Blazers controlled the game for most of the night thanks to a strong second quarter outscoring the Rockets 29-16 to take a 13-point halftime lead at 59-46.
The Blazers dominated the glass tonight pulling down 17 offensive rebounds which led to a 21-7 edge in second chance points.
Portland (23-17) got 25 points and 15 rebounds from Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum added 24 points on 9-for-21 shooting as he remained aggressive as he works through his shooting slump. Damian Lillard took the role of facilitator as he dished out a season-high 12 assists and scored 17 points.
Up Next- The Trail Blazers will host the NY Knicks Monday night at Moda Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM.
Chad's Take- Jusuf Nurkic has a great chance to make his first All Star game if he keeps playing like this.