News » Rockets-Trail Blazers Preview 2009-12-04

Rockets-Trail Blazers Preview 2009-12-04

Rockets-Trail Blazers Preview 2009-12-04After opening the season with a loss at the Rose Garden, the Houston Rockets have become a much better road team.

Houston looks to complete a perfect four-game trip when it meets the Trail Blazers on Saturday.

The Rockets (11-8) won their third straight Thursday, 111-109 over Golden State. Seven players scored in double figures, led by Aaron Brooks' 25. Brooks went 5 of 8 from 3-point range and made two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining.

Houston trailed by 10 before going on a 12-0 run to make it 105-103 with 2:21 left. The Warriors tied it at 109-all before Brooks was able to draw a foul and get to the free-throw line to secure the win.

"We're a much better team when (Brooks is) scoring points and he's getting something done," coach Rick Adelman said. "He had some confidence there in the fourth quarter. That last play I was going to play pick-and-roll but he talked me out of it ... and he was right - we got the foul and won the game."

Brooks, averaging 17.1 points, is scoring 22.7 and shooting 61.0 percent from the field during the road trip. He's 11 of 15 from 3-point range over the three games.

Saturday closes the trip, which has included wins over Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Rockets are 7-3 away from home since opening the season with a 96-87 loss at Portland.

Houston will look to hand the Blazers (12-8) their first four-game losing streak since they dropped five in a row March 27-April 6, 2008. Portland is looking to play better defense after giving up an average of 107.0 points during the skid. It yielded 88.5 over its first 17.

The Blazers are coming off a 107-100 loss to Miami on Tuesday. After giving up 32 points in the first quarter, they cut a 16-point, fourth-quarter deficit to eight with less than 2 minutes remaining. Portland, though, was unable to get any closer until Brandon Roy's 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds left made it 106-100.

Portland has been outscored 93-60 in the first quarter over its last three games.

"We've dug ourselves a hole and we can't get close enough and get stops," coach Nate McMillan said. "That's definitely something we haven't done well in the last three games."

Roy finished with a team-high 25 points Tuesday, while Greg Oden had a career-best 20 rebounds in 30 minutes after getting into early foul trouble. Portland played without LaMarcus Aldridge, who sat out with a right knee bone contusion and is uncertain for Saturday.

"I don't think everything is clicking at the same time out there on the floor," Oden said. "We need one of those games when everything is going good, when everybody is scoring double digits. That definitely would get us out of this tough patch. It starts with the defense."

After opening their season with a win over the Rockets, the Blazers lost 111-107 in Houston five days later.

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Added: December 4, 2009


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