Blazers stay alive against Rockets with Game 5 win

The Sports Network

4/29/2009 2:42:40 AM

Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Brandon Roy scored eight of his 25 points during a big fourth-quarter run and Portland remained alive in its Western Conference quarterfinal series with an 88-77 Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets.

LaMarcus Aldridge also scored 25 points, while Steve Blake added 15 and Travis Outlaw scored 10 for Portland, which still trails the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game 6 slated for Thursday in Houston.

"Tonight our guys came out and played their hearts out," said Blazers coach Nate McMillan. "I've never questioned this team's heart, but being in a situation like this, with your back against the wall, facing a very good team in Houston, they played well. These guys wanted to go back (to Houston). They didn't want the season to end."

Luis Scola tallied 21 points for Houston, which remains one victory away from winning its first playoff series since 1997, a span of six straight first- round exits. Yao Ming ended with 15 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.

"Offensively we've got to have more patience," said Rockets coach Rick Adelman. "We just can't come down and play at a frenzied pace. We turned it over, we only had five assists in the second half. We just didn't play the way we needed to in order to win."

Roy had eight points during Portland's big 15-0 spurt, turning a 68-64 deficit into a 79-68 lead. Von Wafer's bucket had the Rockets ahead by four with 9 1/2 minutes remaining, but Roy sank a jumper and added two free throws to tie the game.

Blake went 1-of-2 from the line to give Portland the lead for good. Outlaw hit a three-pointer from the right corner later in the spurt for a 74-68 cushion. Roy then added a three-pointer and finished the flurry by driving on Yao near the hoop, pulling up for a floater on the left side of the lane with under five minutes remaining.

"We had to be aggressive," said Roy. "Coach said everybody has to go out there and be aggressive. LaMarcus did a good job of setting the pace to attack. It opened up a lot of things, got us into the bonus and we were shooting free throws down the stretch."

Portland was ahead by at least six the remainder of the contest.

Roy and Aldridge each played hurt. Roy sat out practice on Monday due to flu- like symptoms, while Aldridge missed practice because of a sore right elbow, but both came through on Tuesday.

"I think the IV (before the game) really helped me," said Roy. "I came in early and they gave me the IV. I think it helped more than anything in the fourth quarter of the game. I struggled throughout the game to get my second wind but late I finally felt good and had some bounce in my step and was able to make some baskets to try and help my team win this game tonight."

The Blazers were ahead by as many as 10 in the opening quarter before settling for a 29-26 edge after 12 minutes. The hosts led 50-43 at the half before the Rockets pushed back in the third. Aaron Brooks hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 60 with nearly two minutes left before Portland went to the fourth in front, 64-62.

Game Notes: The Rockets went 3-of-15 from three-point range...Houston had 17 turnovers, leading to 24 Portland points...Brooks went 6-of-20 from the field for 13 points, while Ron Artest had 10 points for Houston.