Batum helps lift Portland past Rockets in overtime
Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum (88) scores a layup in overtime against Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Photo by Jaime Valdez, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
PORTLAND - Nicolas Batum scored five of his 25 points in overtime to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 123-120 overtime win over Houston in game four of their NBA playoff series.
Batum's overtime points came during a 7-0 surge that gave the Trail Blazers the lead for good in front of a crowd of 20,246 Sunday at the Moda Center arena.
"We talked about coming out strong and trying to be more physical," said Trail Blazer forward LaMarcus Aldridge. "It is getting fun now."
Portland seized a solid 3-1 lead over the Rockets in the best-of-seven series heading into game five in Texas on Wednesday.
Dwight Howard's dunk with three seconds remaining regulation sent the game to overtime.
Three of the four games between Portland and the Rockets have gone into overtime.
Aldridge tallied a game-high 29 points for Portland, who have never lost a playoff series in which they have won the first two games.
"I was just trying to turn it up," Aldridge said. "In the first half I was passive so in third quarter I was trying to make up for it."
The Rockets are trying to become just the fourth team in league history to win a series after losing the first two games at home.
In 44 minutes of playing time, Aldridge also had 10 rebounds, four blocks and two steals. Guard Damian Lillard scored 23 points and Wesley Matthews tallied 21 in the victory.
Howard finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets who had three players with 25 points or more.
The Trail Blazers have not won a playoff series since 2000, the longest active drought of any team in the league.
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