HOUSTON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The Houston Rockets fell again to the Portland Trail Blazers 112-105 at Toyota Center on Wednesday night, their second loss in the first-round playoff series.
The Rockets wanted badly to claim a victory at their home court following Sunday's narrow defeat. They did start the game aggressively this time, outscoring Portland 31-23 in the first quarter. That momentum didn't last long, however. The Blazers made a quick comeback in the second quarter and tied the score at 53-53 at halftime.
Portland held on the advantage through the third and the fourth quarter. The Rockets had a late surge with minutes remaining. Their best time came when James Harden knocked down a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left to get the Rockets within three. But consecutive free throws by Portland ended their last chance to turn around the game.
LaMarcus Aldridge followed his franchise-record 46 points on Sunday with 43 on Wednesday, making 18 of 28 shots. He is the first player with 80 points and 15 rebounds in the first two games of a playoff series since Michael Jordan in 1997.
Dwight Howard grabbed 32 points and 14 rebounds for Houston. Harden added 18 points, Pat Beverley chipped in 14, and Chandler Parsons had 15 points.
With the loss, the Rockets head to Portland in an 0-2 deficit for two series games on Friday and Sunday before returning to their home court next week.