PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 14 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Houston Rockets 105-100 on Wednesday night.
The Trail Blazers limited James Harden to 18 points and tied the Rockets for third place in the Western Conference.
Harden was averaging just over 27 points to rank second in the league. He had scored more than 40 in two previous games against Portland this season.
Corey Brewer scored 23 points for Houston, including 17 in the fourth quarter.
Robin Lopez finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who have won a Western Conference-best 27 games at home this season.
Portland led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter but the Rockets clawed back, pulling within 99-95 on Brewer’s layup with 2:13 to go.
After Portland free throws, Brewer added a jumper before his steal and fast-break dunk made 101-100 with 15.3 seconds left. Arron Afflalo made two free throws and Brewer missed a 3-pointer with seven seconds to go to end the threat.
The Blazers were coming off a 121-113 loss at Minnesota on Saturday, which snapped a five-game winning streak. It was Portland’s first game without guard Wesley Matthews, who ruptured his Achilles tendon in the prior game.
Matthews underwent surgery to repair the tendon earlier Wednesday at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute. He will be out for the rest of the season.
Afflalo, acquired in a trade at the deadline with Denver, started for the second game in Matthews’ place.
The Rockets had won seven of their last nine games, and were coming off a 114-100 victory at Denver.
Brewer hit a long jumper as the clock expired to take a 29-26 lead into the second quarter. The Rockets led by as many as seven points but Damian Lillard’s 3-pointer closed the gap to 38-36.
The 3-pointer gave him 150 for the season, making Lillard the only NBA player to make 150 or more 3s in each of his first three seasons.
Lillard’s jumper put the Blazers ahead 40-38 and they hung on to take a 54-53 lead into the break.
The Blazers got into trouble early in the third quarter when Aldridge picked up three quick fouls in about a minute’s span and had to head to the bench with four total fouls. The Rockets took advantage, opening the half with an 8-0 run to take a 61-54 lead.
Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer that tied it at 65, and the two teams wrestled for the lead until an 8-0 run put Portland up 82-74 early in the fourth quarter.
Rockets: In the two previous meetings against the Blazers, Harden scored 44 and 45 points. Asked how to defend him, Portland coach Terry Stotts said: “Look, he’s had 44 and 45 against us, so if we hold him to 40 we’re improving.”
Trail Blazers: A couple was married at the Moda Center before the game. … Matthews posted a photo of himself in his cast which was shown on the video scoreboard during the game. Portland wore “With Wes” T-shirts during pregame warmups.
Rockets: Visit Utah on Thursday.
Trail Blazers: Host Detroit on Friday.
This article was written by Anne M. Peterson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.