Blazers-Rockets could put on 3-point show
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers love to shoot 3-point shots, but they are not in the same league as the Houston Rockets in that regard.
The Rockets warmed up for Sunday's Moda Center matchup by attempting an NBA-record 50 shots from beyond the arc in a 117-104 victory at Sacramento on Friday night.
Houston (10-6) made 21 treys against the Kings, including 14 in the first half. The Rockets came within two of matching the NBA mark of 23 makes they share with Orlando.
“I don't mind it, but I'd like to get the record for the most makes, not just the most attempts,” first-year Houston coach Mike D'Antoni told the media.
“If that's what they're giving us, that's what we'll take. We had good looks, and if a guy has a good look, then he's free to shoot it.”
James Harden was only 3 of 11 on 3-point shots but had a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Rockets, who attempt an NBA-high 36 treys per game.
Houston has made at least 10 3-pointers in its last 15 games, one shy of the NBA record.
“This is the style of play we've built around James, and we have shooters,” said forward Ryan Anderson, who was 3 for 7 from 3-point range and scored 13 points.
“The great part about it is, it didn't seem like we took 50 (3-point shots). They were in rhythm, they were good looks, and those are shots we normally take.”
Portland (9-9) shoots an average of a little more than 30 3-pointers a game, sixth-most in the league. The Blazers were 12 for 32 from beyond the stripe in a 119-104 victory over New Orleans on Friday night.
However, the story of that one was the Trail Blazers' dominance inside against the Pelicans. Portland won the battle in total rebounds (52-34), offensive rebounds (12-2), points in the paint (64-34) and second-chance points (23-2).
Although they entered Friday night ranked last in the NBA in rebound percentage, the Blazers have outboarded their opponent in four of the last five games.
“We've done a better job on the boards over those games,” Stotts told the media after the New Orleans game. “We were harping on the rebounding, and it has really improved. It was a big factor for us tonight.”
The Blazers also entered Friday ranked last in the NBA in defensive efficiency (109.7 rating) and opponents' scoring (113.4). Stotts was pleased with his team's defense through most of the final three quarters against the Pelicans.
“Offensively, we were pretty good most of the night,” Stotts said.0 “Defensively, we were good after about two minutes into the second quarter. We've had some struggles, and we needed to get back on track. We did that tonight.”
Forward Ed Davis would like to see a larger sample size in evaluating the Blazers' defense.
“I'm not going to judge it on one game,” Davis said. “I'm glad we got this win, but we had some lapses (in which) we could have done better.
“It's just one game, man. I'm not going to say after one game, problem solved — you know?”