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45 and raining in TLV, 42 and heavily snowing in Jerusalem. Highways and Int'l airport have be shut down. Rytas Vilnius can't escape Israel.
Cool Peyton photo (h/t @andy_mcdonnell ) http://t.co/d7C72ZzML5
No truth to the rumor that the Sixers are treating Michael Carter-Williams infected knee by poking it with a rusty nail.
Late night tweeps, send me some questions to answer on tomorrow's PBT Podcast. And not just about microbrews (although those are good too).
TIP OFF near 7:30 am
"Rather than Dwight shooting a 70% shot right underneath the basket, we're going to make him shoot a 50% shot from the FT line." Matthews
"He was slapping at the ball. I was just like, 'Whatchu doing?' I don't understand where the tech came in." Lillard on Beverley
WHAT UP OKC?!? No, seriously. What's happening. I'm still at LAX.
"He's been unbelievably tenacious. He's been crashing the boards like hell on both ends." Lopez on Aldridge
Thanks to all the eagle eyes who pointed out that Batum had two blocks, not two steals.
Stotts on Lopez guarding Howard solo: "The fact that he took the challenge to guard him straight up, it took threes out of the game."
Kelvin Sampson on LMA: "He's a load. ... I [can't] remember seeing someone who takes so many hard, contested, fallaway j's ... & makes them"
That might be my favorite quote of the moment...still a distant second to all my time favorite: "Life is a negotiation."- David Stern
Of that 30-25 club, six were on TNT tonight: three (Charles, Shaq, C-Webb) in studio and three (KG, Dwight, LMA) on court.
Looking at some play-by-play data for a story I'm researching. Pablo Prigioni blocked a Josh Smith shot?! Don't remember that one.
Last week shit was hitting the fan. This week the Nets hold the longest winning streak in the Eastern Conference
Remember when we were worried about whether Paul George would be able to scratch the All-NBA third team?
Of course, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 30-plus and 25-plus for each of his first three NBA seasons. So there's that.
"People probably don't know who I am or what I do up here. Some people probably just don't like my game. I'm not flashy, I don't dunk." LMA
Aldridge on being 8th among West bigs in All-Star voting: "I'm never going to get votes like that. That's just the reality of being up here"
Among those who have not had 30-25 games in the past 27 years: Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.
Easily lost in Aldridge' big night: Batum had 15 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.
Past two games, Rockets averaged 11 points off the bench. Tonight, Lin, Casspi, Garcia a combined 4 of 16, 1 of 9 on 3s.
"Maybe God just gave me this gift for this season." Aldridge on his rebounding numbers
John Wall credits Tony Parker for influencing his floater. TP the best to ever do it.
It appears, based on basketball-reference, that Rasheed Wallace never had a 20-rebound game in his career.
Quarter MVP race for me: 1) LeBron, 2) P. George, 3) Aldridge, 4) Durant. Leaving 5th spot blank - too severe of a dropoff.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points, 25 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in Portland's win over Houston. Blazers are 19-4 (still best in West).
Barkley: "I love Kobe but he can't make the All-Star team."
LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the most underrated stars in the league. Aldridge showed why he's an All-Star with 31 points and 25 rebounds.
Going to buy Beyonce's album on the strength of how she put it out.
Charles Barkley's Orlando Magic-themed suit tonight is just tremendous.
Mentioned this in story, but tweet-worthy, too: Last five games, Dwight Howard averaging nearly 21 points and 17 rebounds.
LOTN (runner-up): Dwight Howard 32 pts, 17 rebs, 3 blks, 14-22 FG, 4-6 FT, L
NBA Houston 104 Portland 111. Aldridge 31p, 21r - worth catching repeat tonight on ESPN
In the second half alone, LaMarcus Aldridge was 9-12 from the field for 23 points and 15 boards tonight.
Pretty impressive second half for the Blazers. Rockets hung in there well with Parsons struggling, Lin just back. Need another defensive big
Line of the Night: LaMarcus Aldridge 31 pts, 25 rebs, 2 blks, 2 asts, 12-22 FG, 7-9 FT, W
It's still quite early in the season. But it might be time to move the conversation from "Is this team real?" to "How far can it go?"
Pretty obvious LaMarcus Aldridge and Steph Curry are way overdue for All-Star appearances.
LaMarcus Aldridge just said he watched film of himself on the bench. Yes, he watched film during a game. That's NBA 3.0.
LaMarcus Aldridge: "Charles talks trash about everybody."
LaMarcus Aldridge delivers the 1st 30-pt, 25-reb, 2-blk game in 10 seasons.
That'll do it. Harden & Howard combine for 57 points and 23 boards. Not enough. Aldridge absurdly awesome w/ 31 & 25. Blazers win 111-104.
FINAL: Blazers 111, Rockets 104. Too much LaMarcus Aldridge (31p-25r) as Rockets fall to 15-8. Dwight 32p-17r, Harden 25p-7a-6r
LaMarcus Aldridge finishes with 31 points, 25 rebounds. Blazers beat the Rockets, improve record to 19-4. Continue to impress.
Final: Blazers 111, Rockets 104. For his next trick, LaMarcus Aldridge will fix Cover Oregon.
TV always needs a villain . . . . meet Joey *&^%(* Crawford
Patrick Beverley and Damian Lillard receive double techs for jawing at one another.
11-1 Blazers run in less than two minutes. Rockets going to need a miracle for this one, down 108-98 w/ 1:41 left.
The last couple minutes have shown why you don't want Terrence Jones finishing games for a contender yet.
Aldridge started tonight's game 1-of-8. He's now 12-of-22, with 30 points and 25 boards. What a talent.
30 and 25 for LaMarcus Aldridge. WOW.
In 2 matchups vs. Portland so far, Rockets now 11-42 (26%) from 3. Blazers, it should be noted, do defend 3-pt line with vigor & vigilance.
The thing about LaMarcus Aldridge MVP chants and stuff is that LeBron James.
LaMarcus Aldridge has collected his career-high 24th rebound. With 27 pts, 24 rebs, he's putting on an MVP-like show on TNT.
Robin Lopez, with 16 points and 10 rebounds, has his sixth double-double in his last eight games.
If the Blazers go to hack-a-Dwight, the crowd would boo the refs for calling fouls. Silly, but kind of cool, too.
That would have been incredible. Harden fouled going for a left-handed poster slam on Robin Lopez.
LaMarcus Aldridge, 24 rebounds vs. Rockets, has a new career high.
Aldridge has career-high 24 rebounds.
This has been a big week for airballed layups.
It's Hack-a-Howard time.
Harden's first points of the fourth are a driving bucket and foul. The free throw cuts it to 97-95 Portland, 4:45 left.
Bring out the Gimp.
The most dangerous thing in the NBA is assuming what you see in December will count in June. Still: Pacers and Blazers are really good.
One concern with forking over a first/young piece for Lowry is that he could bolt after the season. Risk for any team acquiring him.
Also, everyone feels shots will start to fall for Dudley, who has earned the right to keep shooting over his career
10 rebounds for Patrick Beverley -- that's a new career high.
Blazers appear to open the fourth quarter playing a game of B-A-R-K-L-E-Y
Of course, Rockets also completely different not having Asik out there to take good care of those minutes when D12 is on bench.
I enjoy games that Joey Crawford officiates, just not when they're Rocket games.
Mentioned in 1Q, but bears repeating: Blazers so much better w/ Lopez on floor. No foul trouble tonight, has 14 & 10, PDX totally different.
Robin Lopez has become a much better finisher at rim as the season has gone along.
In the 5:52 Dwight Howard has been on the bench tonight, the Blazers have outscored Houston 19-8.
LaMarcus Aldridge with 25 points and 20 rebounds and 10:04 left --- his fourth 20/20 game in the NBA.
Knowing that everything comes full circle, I still believe an RGIII will finish the season starting behind center..Rex Daniel Grossman III.
The thing about benching Dudley, which some have suggested, is that there's no one healthy to take his place.
Top 5 Shooting Guards (right now): 1. Harden. 2. Monta 3. Wade 4. Afflalo 5. Klay
Harden, Howard each up to 32 minutes before 4th. Had to sit sometime. Missing Asik on Aldridge big-time, makes it tough to ever sit Dwight.
Rockets not making it easy on themselves with these poor starts to 3rd and 4th quarters. 8-0 Blazers run as Mt. Aldridge continues to erupt.
Blazers start fourth with 8-0 run. Sampson has to take a time out. Rockets put up four shots, three from beyond arc.
Not the way the Rockets wanted to start the 4th. Blazers on an 8-0 run to start the quarter.
Not sure this will work. Center shooting 3s and point guard rebounding. Howard, Harden have sat for 92 seconds, long enough.
All right, enough crusading tonight. Love the passion and the well-founded arguments.
If LaMarcus Aldridge is not sealing himself as a legit MVP candidate right now on national television, I don't know what else he can do.
Aldridge now has the fourth 20-rebound game of his career.
Aldridge is feelin' it.
Huge stretch right here. Dwight sits. Jones returns, matched up with Aldridge. With Lillard back, Beverley in for Harden.
Can't ask for much more of a nightcap game than an even break through three quarters. Keep it rolling, Rockets and Blazers.
LaMarcus Aldridge with just 22 points and 19 rebounds after three quarters. He'll pick it up.
That 3rd quarter went a long way toward making up for first half. Game tied at 76. Stars stepping up. Rockets need a defensive option on LA.
Linsanity's air ball flies into the fourth quarter… Blazers 76, Rockets 76.
So after all that, it's all tied after 3. 76-76 Rockets-Blazers.
That's more like it. Offenses and stars take over in 3Q. Harden, Howard & Aldridge terrific. Heading to final frame knotted at 76.
LaMarcus Aldridge going off in Portland again: 22 points, 18 rebounds at the end of the third quarter. Blazers-Rockets tied 76-76.
End of 3rd Q. Blazers 76 Rockets 76. Aldridge 22 points, 19 boards. Harden 21 points, 5 and 5. Howard 20 points, 14 rebounds.
“If I was the coach, I’d bench me the way I’ve been playing and shooting the ball.” - Jared Dudley. 34 % FG & 22.2 % 3FG in last 9 games
Turnovers are killing Blazers right now. They have let the Rockets back in this one.
Love that out of bounds back screen/lob play Portland uses for Matthews. Seems like he gets free every time.
Before tonight, Joel Freeland and Robin Lopez had played a total of 8 minutes on the floor together (via @NBAstats).
Before tonight, Joel Freeland and Robin Lopez had played a total of 8 minutes on the floor together.
Parsons really hurting. Not sure if it's the back or or the time he has lost to treating the back. Not moving, breathing well.
That's what you like to see from Dwight. Faked Lopez up, then threw down the slam. He has 14 & 14 boards. 70-64 Portland, 2:30 3Q.
Wesley Matthews' hops have been failing him as of late.
Rockets down 7 as Aldridge sits. Better make a move here. Lin in, matched up with Lillard.
Aldridge checks out after dropping 11 points and 8 rebounds in Q3.
I have a long bus ride to Boston. I may watch that rant video again if I can stop myself from laughing too hard.
Blazers had 8 assists in the first half. Already have 6 in the 3rd quarter. Such beautiful ball movement.
The way LaMarcus Aldridge is playing right now...
Aldridge with 11 points in the third.
Blazers have 13 second-chance points, but last few have been back-breakers. Rockets barely hanging in, can't give up so many second shots.
After that rebound follow and 3-point play, LA has 17 pts, 17 rebs. 17 mins left in the game.
LaMarcus Aldridge beasting the boards. He has 17 points, 17 rebounds midway through the third. Meanwhile, Terrence Jones has 1 rebound.
Lillard could go off at any time. He's that kind of a guy. But Beverley has been sensational on one of toughest covers in league.
Not since Clay Bennett has anyone worked so hard to get to Oklahoma City.
Is Aaron Afflalo a Top 5 shooting guard right now? Better believe it.
Parsons got tangled up with Lopez, seemed to have trouble getting up. OK now, but can't help but guess back spasm again.
Blazers currently on an 11-0 run.
One thing this team has done consistently well this season is respond in the 3rd Q.
Dwight Howard just told Marv Albert he thought he and Chandler Parsons were part of the Globetrotters' act on that last play
Wonder how much candy Dwight ate at halftime.
You knew that Matthews three was going in. 9-0 Blazers run. Rockets seemed a bit rattled by that botched rebound from Dwight-Chandler.
Howard, Parsons not only knocked rebound from each other, they stopped playing to yell at each other about it. Blazers on 9-0 run.
So about that PDX second-half rating ... Portland kicks off second half with 11-3 run to take 54-47 lead -- biggest of game.
Hmmmm that was frustrating to have a loose ball go from sure Rockets ball and go straight to the Blazers after some bouncing.
Rockets getting burned repeatedly by "Batum and Robin." Nic Batum with 4 assists, 3 of them to Robin Lopez.
PP on glove: "Last night I took it out to movies. Maybe I’ll get on a boat ride with it, candlelight dinner. You know what I’m saying?" Nope
Robin Lopez with 9 points. At least 6 have come off assists from Nic Batum.
That is not rebuttal, as much as indication entire argument is ridiculous anyway. Doesn't matter how teams score if they consistently do.
Mentioned this in today's preview but bears repeating: Portland's net rating in 2nd half of games this season is +10.4; 2nd best in NBA.
Not watching TNT halftime, but judging by twitter, it's the usual greatest hits. Worth noting then, Rockets 3rd in points in paint per game.
I truly hate those James Earl Jones/Malcolm McDowell Sprint commercials. Like nails on a chalkboard. And they still make no sense.
ICYMI: Rockets will trade Asik next Wednesday or Thursday. And do not discount Cleveland/Varejao. Would be perfect fit next to Howard.
The Clippers are now 5-6 against the lowly East. Ouch.
Charles Barkley just rolls his eyes when TNT runs that silly Kenny Smith segment on the big screen. Ernie and Chuck are the stars.
David Letterman's Top 10 list tonight: Lies of the Year. No. 4 "I am a proud Knicks fan."
That was some excellent Ogden talk, everybody. Tweetup at Jasoh! later.
Didn't count Howard's heave at buzzer. That makes teams 3 of 22 on 3s. Rockets shooting 36.7 percent, Blazers 32.6 %.
GB forward Luol Deng (Chi) ninth among East frontcourt players in first returns of NBA All Star ballot with 54,340 votes
So you can DM anybody you want on Instagram? I'm guessing pro teams and celebrities are about to get slammed!
Look, Dan Snyder can sell Lakota popcorn at games, do all the outreach he wants. But he can't find a financial solution to a moral problem.
Rockets lead 44-43 at halftime as Indiana-Memphis has broken out.
Corrected KG on Doc: "No one's perfect, all humans have their flaws or whatever, but ... shoot, he's damn near close to it."
Tightly-contested? Yeah, that was expected. 44-43 at half w/ bevy of missed bunnies and blown plays? Not so much. Expect much better in 2H.
Rockets 44, Blazers 43 at half. Rockets, Blazers a combined 3 of 21 on 3s. Rockets with 5 assists, just 1 in second quarter.
End of 1st half. Rockets 44 Blazers 43 Harden 12 points. Howard 11 points, 10 boards. Aldridge 8 points, 10 boards. Batum 8 points, 5 boards
HALF: Rockets 44, Blazers 43. HOU just 1-9 3P, but only 4 turnovers, Blazers 34% FG the big reasons they lead. Harden 12p, Howard 11p-10r.
If all else fails, hustle works. Pat Beverley has six rebounds in the quarter.
Ex-Duck Darron Thomas told me today that he is certain Randall Cunningham II will someday start at QB for the Oregon Ducks.
Again, these really are top two offensive teams in the league. I checked stats again. Maybe should have checked their IDs. First to 75 wins?
Just your standard Pat Beverley kind of night: 6 rebounds -- 3 of them on offensive end from one of the best off. rebounding PGs in NBA.
The Coach Going Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. 3-10. RGIII does a 180. Name Change Movement. Maybe worst full year ever for the Wash. football team
Alan Roach is in locker room, his producer is on phone asking him question, and I'm hoping he'll say "Hooooold on, please"
Portland Thunder owe Darron Thomas about 12 hours of overtime for everything he's had to do today.
I remember when Dwight Howard was convinced he had a 12-foot banker in his repertoire.
In the oulet pass sub-category, yes, Kevin Love and Chuck Hayes. Lifetime achievement: Sheed.
KG, with high praise for Kidd tonight: "The one thing that stands out about him is his grit and his fight, very similar to what Doc is."
I know everyone is probably over it by now, but I'm still amazed Randy Rahe sold Damian Lillard on Ogden.
Nic Batum must really, really like Robin Lopez.
Aldridge is 3 of 10. I think the 3 are the 3 toughest, best defended shots he's taken.
Now, the question must be asked: Do you double Dwight Howard?
Also receiving votes for all-forward/big court vision: McBob, Diaw, AK47
With the talk of Blazers' great start and if for real (they are) can't discount how huge it is to have entire rotation unchanged by injury.
Forwards with better court vision than Nic Batum: (1) LeBron James (2) maybe Andre Iguodala?
7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists for Nicolas Batum.
Non-sports: Lena Dunham is right about paella.
And while I respect every person of every ethnicity that wants to keep name, I need to verify ancestry before I believe a single "letter."
This is truly a name-change moment, by the way. The entire org. is burning to the ground and the team has time to respond with "letters."
A mere 28-pt, 14-reb night for Othyus Jeffers in Iowa Energy's win tonight over the hated Mad Ants in Fort Wayne
"We see him in the night Tell him I'm not afraid of him I'm not afraid of them" http://t.co/M8VR1LqIMZ
Rockets offense beginning to get going by going inside to Howard -- 2 buckets and pass to Beverley. Doing everything with his left tonight.
Nice stretch from Howard -- two straight low-post buckets & assist for Beverley layup -- prompts timeout from Blazers. HOU up 5, mid-2Q.
Points in the paint: Rockets 28 Blazers 12. Fast break points: Rockets 10 Blazers 2. 6:53 left in the 2nd Q, Rockets lead 36-31.
D-Will on falling down in the 1st after a Chris Paul crossover joked “I’ll probably be on Worldstar.” Did say he stepped on Brook’s foot.
Biggest change in the Blazers… when they take a bad shot this season it's glaring… because they make the right decision so often.
Rockets are 14-3 this year when they win the rebounding battle, 1-4 when they don't. They're getting beat on the glass 24-17 so far tonight.
I made Denver my Skunk pick AND threw them in a 3-team teaser. I did everything short of dousing Manning's football card with chicken blood.
I'd have a lot more followers had I not blocked so many. Good thing the new Twitter block policy is keeping those munsons off my TL
Those alley-oops where nobody is on the receiving end is always fun to watch.
Rockets' defensive rebounding again an issue. PDX, an excellent o-rebounding team, has grabbed 33% of its misses so far.
Terrence Jones dunks on Joel Freeland, then poses. I could do without the pose
First time I've seen a guy get a standing O from the crowd for getting his own rebound on 3 missed shots. Thomas Robinson is that man.
Knicks and Nets win on back-to-back nights. East is on fire.
Internet issues at the Moda Center, fyi ... updates could be sporadic.
Browning was Syracuse's OC in 2008. Spent this season at Davidson at Davidson, as asst head coach, OL and TE coach.
Harden averaged more than 30 ppg, 7 apg, 6 rpg vs PDX last yr. Scored 33 pts & had 7 boards vs PDX Nov. 5. 8 pts, 4 rebs in 1Q tonight.
Not much from big men. Howard is 1 of 4, Aldridge 1 of 7, but with 9 rebounds. Switching Blazers D negates some of pick-and-roll to Howard.
LaMarcus Aldridge still 1 for 7, but has nine rebounds and two blocks along with two points.
Rockets down 21-20 after one. Rough shooting quarter for both teams. Harden has already taken 10 shots, has 8 points.