Şengün posts 27 points as Rockets beat Trail Blazers
Turkish center Alperen Şengün scored 27 points off the bench, Jalen Green had 25 points and the Houston Rockets defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 115-98 on March 26 night to complete a back-to-back sweep.
The Rockets are tied with Orlando at 20-55 for the worst record in the NBA. Houston won 125-106 on March 25 night.
Trendon Watford led the Blazers with 15 points and 10 rebounds before leaving late with an apparent knee injury.
With 3:01 remaining, Watford fell to the court and grabbed at his left knee after awkwardly stepping on the foot of Houston’s Dennis Schroder. Watford was helped to the locker room by teammates and coaches, unable to put any weight on his left leg. The Blazers did not have an immediate update on Watford’s status.
After a layup by Watford gave the Blazers a one-point lead to start the second half, a 3-pointer by Green put the Rockets ahead 63-61. Houston’s third-quarter lead grew to as much as 10 before the Rockets went into the fourth quarter with an 85-78 lead.
Houston avoided an injury scare late in the third quarter after Green’s knee collided with Portland’s Keon Johnson with seven seconds left in the third quarter. Green walked to the locker room momentarily, but quickly returned to the Rockets bench.
Green returned with 5:29 left after a 3-pointer by Şengün gave the Rockets what was their biggest lead at 103-90. Green had a ferocious block shortly after returning. Another 3-pointer by Şengün pushed the Rockets’ lead to 15.
After a rare road win, coach Stephen Silas emphasized to his team the need to put the result behind them.
“They’re not going to want to get beat two games in a row. It’s our approach. Our focus is on what it takes to win. It’s going to be everything,” he said.
Durant leads Nets
Elsewhere, slumping Miami surrendered the NBA Eastern Conference lead on March 26 after a weak performance in a 110-95 home loss to Kevin Durant and the suddenly sizzling Brooklyn Nets.
Durant scored 23 points, Seth Curry added 17 and Andre Drummond had 13 points and 11 rebounds in Brooklyn’s seventh victory over nine games.
The Heat suffered a season-high fourth consecutive loss and fell to 47-28, percentage points behind the Philadelphia 76ers 46-27 for the top spot in the East.
“We’re not concerned in the sense of panicking but yeah, we have to fix some stuff,” Heat guard Kyle Lowry said. “This is one of those games where you really have to say, ‘All right we need to figure some things out.’ They took it to us tonight.”
Idle Philadelphia moved past Miami but reigning NBA champion Milwaukee missed a chance to leap ahead of both clubs with a 127-102 loss at Memphis.
Reserve guard DeAnthony Melton scored 24 points, Desmond Bane added 20 and Dillon Brooks had 19 to spark the Grizzlies, Memphis improving to 17-2 without injured guard Ja Morant and 52-23, the NBA’s second-best record.