POR
HOU

No Text

Lillard, Nurkic score 22 each as Blazers rout Rockets 104-85

HOUSTON (AP) Coach Mike D'Antoni got tired of answering question after question about what's wrong with the Houston Rockets after they were trounced again Tuesday night.

''I can sit up here and talk for the next five minutes, but we're not playing well. That's the bottom line,'' he said. ''And we've got to figure out why and do a better job.''

Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic scored 22 points each, and the Portland Trail Blazers never trailed in a 104-85 rout of the struggling Rockets.

The Rockets dropped their fourth straight in their second game without James Harden, who is out with a hamstring injury, to fall to 1-5. After entering the season with eyes on a championship, the Rockets have rarely even been competitive, dropping their four home games by an average of more than 17 points.

While the Rockets certainly know they need to improve, they're also quick to point out the season is still young.

''We realize that it's early, and if you run off 10 wins in a row or something like that at some point, this would be an afterthought,'' Chris Paul said.

Now they face a season-long five-game road trip where they'll likely be without Harden and fellow starter James Ennis (right hamstring) for at least the first game and possibly more.

The Rockets are careful not to point fingers and insist everyone must be better to turn things around.

''We're going to figure this out together,'' Carmelo Anthony said. ''It's not one person.''

Portland led by double digits most of the night and was up by 23 entering the fourth quarter. Houston got within 15 with about two minutes left, but that was it in front of a crowd which began steadily streaming out midway through the third quarter.

CJ McCollum added 19 points for the Trail Blazers, who improved to 5-2 with their second straight victory.

Paul led Houston with 17 points and nine assists in his second game back after a two-game suspension for his role in a fight with the Los Angeles Lakers.

While getting Harden back will certainly give the Rockets a boost, Houston's problems extend beyond missing last year's MVP. The Rockets have been unable to get into any kind of rhythm on offense and look lost at times on defense. Their 3-pointers aren't falling, and when they get open looks, they seem to miss a lot of those, too.

The Rockets made just 10 of 43 3-pointers on a night they shot 32.3 percent overall.

D'Antoni insists his team will be good and that it just needs time to gel. But the man known for his fast-paced, high-flying offenses must be scratching his head at how he can get this team on track after such an awful start.

The Trail Blazers had a 15-point lead by halftime and used an 11-3 run to open the third quarter and extend it to 62-39. Nurkic had two dunks in that stretch, and Jake Layman capped the run with a 3-pointer.

''That was really good,'' coach Terry Stotts said. ''To get a quick lead and jump out on them like that and get it up to 20, rather than give them any life early, I think that was really important.''

Anthony made a layup midway through the quarter to cut the lead to 21, but the Trail Blazers scored the next seven points to make it 76-48 about a minute later. The Rockets committed three fouls, missed two free throws and one basket in that stretch.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Nurkic had 10 rebounds. ... Portland made 8 of 20 3-pointers. ... Maurice Harkless sat out with a left knee injury.

Rockets: C Nene, who hasn't played this season, remains out indefinitely with a strained right calf strain. ... F Marquese Chriss, who has been inactive all season because of a sprained left ankle, had four points and two rebounds. ... Ennis missed his third straight game with a strained right hamstring.

KEEPING IT LIGHT

Despite the tough start, D'Antoni hasn't lost his sense of humor and responded with a joke when asked about his team's record.

''We do have 76 games (left). You can ask the analytical guys but mathematically I think we're still in it,'' he said. ''So, we'll figure it out.''

UP NEXT

Blazers: Host New Orleans on Thursday night.

Rockets: Visit Brooklyn on Friday night.

---

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
D. Lillard
0 PG
C. Paul
3 PG
32.0 Min. Per Game 32.0
19.7 Pts. Per Game 19.7
8.0 Ast. Per Game 8.0
6.0 Reb. Per Game 6.0
50.4 Field Goal % 39.3
48.0 Three Point % 40.0
93.2 Free Throw % 83.3
  24-second shot clock violation turnover 0:00
  Bad pass turnover on Marquese Chriss, stolen by Zach Collins 0:24
+ 2 Jake Layman made finger-roll layup, assist by Zach Collins 0:34
+ 2 Zhou Qi made dunk, assist by Gerald Green 0:43
+ 1 Nik Stauskas made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:51
+ 1 Nik Stauskas made 1st of 2 free throws 0:51
  Shooting foul on Michael Carter-Williams 0:51
  Personal foul on Michael Carter-Williams 0:57
  Defensive rebound by Nik Stauskas 1:10
  Gerald Green missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:14
+ 2 Zach Collins made layup 1:27
Team Stats
Points 104 85
Field Goals 38-80 (47.5%) 31-96 (32.3%)
3-Pointers 8-20 (40.0%) 10-43 (23.3%)
Free Throws 20-23 (87.0%) 13-23 (56.5%)
Total Rebounds 64 56
Offensive 7 20
Defensive 44 29
Team 13 7
Assists 17 18
Steals 4 7
Blocks 4 9
Turnovers 17 11
Fouls 19 25
Technicals 0 0
22 PTS, 3 REB, 7 AST
17 PTS, 5 REB, 9 AST
1234T
away team logo Trail Blazers 5-2 19323419104
home team logo Rockets 1-5 1521262385
Team Stats
away team logo Trail Blazers 5-2 114.0 PPG 47.9 RPG 22.8 APG
home team logo Rockets 1-5 112.9 PPG 41.6 RPG 21.0 APG
Key Players
D. Lillard PG 26.1 PPG 4.5 RPG 6.5 APG 45.0 FG%
C. Paul PG 15.7 PPG 4.6 RPG 8.2 APG 42.0 FG%
Top Scorers
D. Lillard PG 22 PTS 3 REB 7 AST
C. Paul PG 17 PTS 5 REB 9 AST
47.5 FG% 32.3
40.0 3PT FG% 23.3
87.0 FT% 56.5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Lillard 22 3 7 8/10 1/2 5/5 2 27 1 0 3 0 3 +20 37
J. Nurkic 22 10 2 7/10 0/0 8/10 2 24 0 1 2 1 9 +25 35
C. McCollum 19 4 2 7/13 3/6 2/2 1 27 0 1 1 0 4 +20 27
J. Layman 7 1 0 3/5 1/1 0/0 0 14 0 0 0 0 1 +15 8
A. Aminu 5 6 0 2/5 0/1 1/1 2 27 1 0 1 2 4 +20 11
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Lillard 22 3 7 8/10 1/2 5/5 2 27 1 0 3 0 3 +20 37
J. Nurkic 22 10 2 7/10 0/0 8/10 2 24 0 1 2 1 9 +25 35
C. McCollum 19 4 2 7/13 3/6 2/2 1 27 0 1 1 0 4 +20 27
J. Layman 7 1 0 3/5 1/1 0/0 0 14 0 0 0 0 1 +15 8
A. Aminu 5 6 0 2/5 0/1 1/1 2 27 1 0 1 2 4 +20 11
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
N. Stauskas 10 3 0 3/10 2/6 2/2 1 23 0 0 1 1 2 0 12
Z. Collins 7 4 3 3/7 0/1 1/1 5 23 1 2 3 1 3 -6 17
E. Turner 5 7 2 2/6 0/1 1/2 3 25 1 0 3 0 7 -5 14
S. Curry 5 2 1 2/8 1/2 0/0 1 23 0 0 1 0 2 +5 8
C. Swanigan 2 11 0 1/6 0/0 0/0 2 20 0 0 2 2 9 -1 11
A. Simons 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 +2 0
M. Harkless - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Leonard - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Baldwin IV - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Trent Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 104 51 17 38/80 8/20 20/23 19 234 4 4 17 7 44 +95 180
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
C. Paul 17 5 9 6/19 2/8 3/4 4 37 2 0 2 1 4 -18 40
C. Capela 14 14 1 6/11 0/0 2/7 2 30 0 3 4 7 7 -15 29
E. Gordon 12 6 1 4/18 2/8 2/4 5 31 0 0 0 2 4 -16 20
P. Tucker 8 8 1 3/6 2/5 0/0 2 34 2 1 2 3 5 -11 19
C. Anthony 8 4 0 2/12 0/2 4/4 3 31 1 2 1 2 2 -17 14
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
C. Paul 17 5 9 6/19 2/8 3/4 4 37 2 0 2 1 4 -18 40
C. Capela 14 14 1 6/11 0/0 2/7 2 30 0 3 4 7 7 -15 29
E. Gordon 12 6 1 4/18 2/8 2/4 5 31 0 0 0 2 4 -16 20
P. Tucker 8 8 1 3/6 2/5 0/0 2 34 2 1 2 3 5 -11 19
C. Anthony 8 4 0 2/12 0/2 4/4 3 31 1 2 1 2 2 -17 14
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
G. Clark 11 4 1 4/9 3/7 0/0 2 19 0 1 0 2 2 -6 18
M. Carter-Williams 6 1 2 2/4 0/2 2/4 2 14 2 1 1 0 1 -4 13
M. Chriss 4 2 0 2/5 0/2 0/0 1 8 0 1 1 0 2 -2 6
G. Green 3 4 2 1/10 1/9 0/0 1 25 0 0 0 2 2 -4 11
Z. Qi 2 0 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -2 2
I. Hartenstein 0 1 1 0/1 0/0 0/0 3 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 3
J. Harden - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Knight - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Ennis III - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
V. Edwards - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Nene - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 85 49 18 31/96 10/43 13/23 25 236 7 9 11 20 29 -95 175