Aldridge leads Blazers past Rockets

The Associated Press /

Published Dec 13, 2013 at 12:01AM

PORTLAND — LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points and a career-high 25 rebounds, prompting Portland fans to chant “MVP! MVP!” during the Trail Blazers’ 111-104 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Robin Lopez added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who sit atop the Western Conference standings at 19-4.

Dwight Howard had 32 points and 17 rebounds for the Rockets, who beat the Blazers 116-101 on Nov. 5. That was one of just two losses at home this season for Portland.

The Trail Blazers led by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but Chandler Parsons hit a 3-pointer to narrow it to 93-88 with 7:07 left. Houston closed to 97-95 after James Harden made a layup and a free throw with 4:45 to go.

Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer pushed Portland’s lead to 102-95 before Wesley Matthews’ layup and free throw made it 108-96 with 2:04 left and all but put the game out of reach for the Rockets.

Portland was coming off a 105-94 victory in Utah on Monday. The Blazers have scored 100 or more points in 10 consecutive games.

Houston had won two straight, including a 98-88 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

The Rockets (15-7) were without Omer Asik, who missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right thigh. Houston did get back guard Jeremy Lin, who missed the previous six games with a sprained right knee.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale was not with the team because of the death of his mother. Her funeral is scheduled for today in Minnesota. Assistant coach Kelvin Sampson ran the club against the Blazers.

Neither side was able to get in front by more than five points in the first half. Portland held a 21-20 lead after the opening quarter. Aldridge was just 1 for 7 from the floor but he had nine rebounds.

Houston went ahead 32-28 on Parsons’ layup and Howard’s hook shot, and the Rockets led 44-43 at halftime. Neither team shot well, with Portland at 32 percent and Houston at 36 percent. The Rockets had just five first-half assists.

The Blazers opened the second half with an 11-3 run capped by Matthews’ 3-pointer to take a 54-47 lead. Portland stretched the lead to 59-49 on Lopez’s dunk and free throw. Aldridge got rolling with 11 points and eight rebounds.

The Rockets closed the gap to 70-68 late in the third quarter when Howard hit a pair of free throws and dunked. Omri Casspi tied it at 70 on free throws with 2 minutes left.

In another game on Thursday:

Nets 102, Clippers 93: NEW YORK — Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson each scored 21 points in Brooklyn’s victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, making Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett winners in their first matchup with Doc Rivers.