NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 27th (All times Eastern)
(4) Houston Rockets (1-2) at (5) Portland Trail Blazers (2-1), 9:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - An unlikely figure got the Houston Rockets back into their Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Portland Trail Blazers, which will resume Sunday night at the Moda Center.
Seldom-used rookie Troy Daniels was the hero for Houston in its 121-116 overtime victory in Game 3 Friday night.
Daniels hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds of overtime to lead the Rockets back into the series. Daniels, who made a name for himself as a marksman this season while playing for Rio Grande Valley of the NBA's developmental league, did not play in either of Houston's losses in the first two games of this series but contributed nine points off the bench in Game 3.
"I was ready," said Daniels, who appeared in only his sixth game in the NBA Friday night. "My teammates and coaches said just be ready to shoot that shot and that's what I do, that's my job, so it was a great shot and a great game."
James Harden led the way for the Rockets in Game 3 with 37 points, but he hoisted a franchise postseason record 35 shots. Dwight Howard had 24 points with 14 rebounds, while Patrick Beverley added 16, Chandler Parsons netted 15 and Jeremy Lin chipped in 13.
Damian Lillard paced Portland with 30 points, Nicolas Batum tallied 26 and LaMarcus Aldridge had 23 points with 10 rebounds. Aldridge, who totaled 46 and 43 points, respectively, in the first two games of the series, now has 112 points through three games.
Lillard followed two Aldridge free throws with a reverse lefty layup to put Portland in front two minutes into the extra session. Lin's stepback got Houston within two, and Harden knotted the score at 116-all with a 21-footer with 1:51 left in the extra session. It stayed tied until Lin corralled a loose ball and fed Daniels on the left wing for his third trey of the contest with just 11.9 seconds left.
"It means a lot. As a rookie, you never know when you're going to play," said Daniels, who made the D-League All-Star Game this season and hit a league- record 240 3-pointers. "When he called my name, I was ready to play. That just shows how much confidence he has in me."
Batum's 3-point try from the top of the key missed long, and Daniels grabbed the game's biggest rebound to secure the win for the Rockets, who still trail 2-1 in this best-of-seven series. Harden's free throws with less than a second left resulted in the final margin.
"It was a game that could have gone either way," said Portland coach Terry Stotts. "Ultimately, they made some shots at the end and we didn't shoot the ball necessarily well in overtime. None of them are going to be easy, that's part of the playoffs."
The Blazers still own a 2-1 series lead and have history on their side thanks to road wins in Games 1 and 2. Only three teams in NBA history have come back to win a series after losing the first two at home.
Portland has also never lost a series in which it won the first two games.
Game 5 will be Wednesday night in Houston.
04/27 10:34:22 ET