Houston Rockets guard Goran Dragic, right, from Slovenia, looks to pass as Portland Trail Blazers forwardLaMarcus Aldridge defends during the first quarter of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Monday, April 9, 2012.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:42 am
Dragic leads Rockets to 94-89 win over Blazers
By ANNE M. PETERSONAP Sports Writer
Chase Budinger added 15 points off the bench for the Rockets, who beat the Bulls, Lakers and Kings before visiting Portland.
Houston (32-25), in sixth place in the Western Conference, has won six of its last eight games overall.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and six rebounds for the Portland (27-31), which trailed by as many as 14 points. The Trail Blazers, who are seeing their playoff hopes dwindle, have gone 7-8 since firing coach Nate McMillan.
Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry played his second game after missing 15 because of a serious bacterial infection. He finished with 13 points in 23 minutes.
Dragic, who has been starting in Lowry's absence, was named the Western Conference player of the week on Monday after averaging 20.7 points, 8.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds last week. He's scored in double figures for a career-best 19 straight games.
Dragic will be a free agent this summer. Rockets coach Kevin McHale, when asked if he's worried he'll lose Dragic in the offseason, quipped, "I worry about my golf game in the offseason."
The Rockets were playing the second game of a back-to-back, after defeating Sacramento 104-87 on Sunday night.
Marcus Camby, dealt by the Blazers to the Rockets at the trade deadline, hit a 3-pointer to give the Rockets a 24-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. Houston extended it to 36-25 on Patrick Patterson's long jumper before Budinger's 3-pointer made it 41-27.
The Blazers trailed 49-40 at the half, but pulled within 49-47 on Joel Przybilla's layup. Raymond Felton tied it with a jumper, but the Rockets never surrendered the lead and were up 71-65 going into the final quarter.
Budinger's dunk midway through the fourth made it 86-73. Aldridge hit a 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds left to pull Portland within 92-87, but it was too late.
The Blazers were without Nicolas Batum, who has tendinitis in his left knee and is day-to-day. Jamal Crawford started in his place, finishing with 18 points.
Camby was traded to the Rockets the same day the Blazers dismissed McMillan. Portland also traded starting forward Gerald Wallace to New Jersey the same day.
Camby finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Notes: Former Oregon running back and NFL draft prospect LaMichael James was at the game, as was former Blazer Clifford Robinson. ... The Rockets are 18-0 this season when they keep an opponent under 90 points.