National Basketball Association
Preview
Houston at Portland
When: 9:30 PM ET, Sunday, April 27, 2014
Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon

Somebody named Troy Daniels kept Houston alive and the Rockets now attempt to even the best-of-seven Western Conference series when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. Daniels, a recent D-League call-up, knocked down the tiebreaking 3-pointer in overtime as the Rockets avoided falling behind 3-0 in the series with a dramatic 121-116 victory. James Harden set a personal playoff high with 37 points while Houston limited Portland star LaMarcus Aldridge to 23 points after he combined for 89 in the first two games.

The Rockets can regain homecourt advantage with a Game 4 victory and coach Kevin McHale isn’t ready to proclaim his team is back in the series until it wins another one. “We haven’t done anything yet,” McHale said after Friday’s victory. “We’ve won one game. But it feels a lot better than losing.” Portland knows what’s at stake and would prefer to go back to Houston with a chance to clinch the series. “It’s the playoffs and nobody said we were going to come out and sweep them,” point guard Damian Lillard told reporters. “We’re lucky that we were able to win two games in Houston and be in the position we’re in right now.”

TV:
9:30 p.m. ET, TNT, CSN Houston, KGW (Portland)

ABOUT THE ROCKETS: Daniels played just 75 minutes in the regular season – 44 of them in the meaningless finale – and didn’t play in the first two games of the playoff series. But he logged 20 minutes in Game 3 and was in at the finish because forward Chandler Parsons had fouled out. His third 3-pointer of the contest was the decisive one with 11 seconds left, changing the status of the undrafted free agent from Virginia Commonwealth from unknown commodity to playoff hero. “As a rookie, you never know when you’re going to play,” Daniels told reporters. “When (McHale) called my name, I was ready to play. That just shows how much confidence he has in me.”

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS:
Aldridge was just 8-of-22 shooting in Game 3 as the Rockets started a second big man in Omer Asik and repeatedly hounded Aldridge with either Asik or Dwight Howard. Aldridge only had four first-half points before finding some opportunities to get loose in the second half but wasn’t the dominating force he was in the first two games. “They rotated big to big,” Aldridge said afterward, “so they made it a point to take me out and not let me get up a lot of shots and not find a good rhythm.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Lillard posted his second 30-point outing of the series in Game 3 and is averaging 26.3 points.

2. Harden is averaging 27.3 points but is just 27-of-82 from the field.

3. Trail Blazers F Nicolas Batum set a personal playoff best with 26 points in Game 3 and tied his personal best with nine rebounds.

PREDICTION:
Trail Blazers 113, Rockets 110
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Houston 55-30 W1 33-10 22-20 0-4 55-26 11-5 32-23
Portland 56-29 L1 31-11 25-18 2-1 54-28 13-3 33-22
Last Meeting
Houston Portland
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/25/14 HOU 121 POR 116 121 53 42.9 116 47 45.6
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 37 37.1 8
Portland D. Lillard 30 56.2 8
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston D. Howard 14 6 8
Portland L. Aldridge 10 1 9
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 6
Portland D. Lillard 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 2064 45.1 630
Portland D. Lillard 1916 42.4 437
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston D. Howard 973 265 708
Portland L. Aldridge 832 182 650
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 489
Portland D. Lillard 505
Quickchart Matchup
Houston Off vs  Portland Defense
107.9 Points For
103.2 Points Against
47.0 FG%
45.0 FG%
45.5 Reb
43.8 Reb
Portland Off vs  Houston Defense
107.1 Points For
103.6 Points Against
45.0 FG%
44.3 FG%
43.8 Reb
41.9 Reb