In what was as close to a must-win situation as you can be in, the Houston Rockets got a game-winner from an unlikely hero in their 121-116 overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night.
After James Harden lost the ball in a 116-116 tie, Jeremy Lin grabbed it in a mad scramble. Lin then found Troy Daniels, who buried a three-pointer with 11.0 seconds to play (you can watch the play here).
Daniels only played 75 total minutes during the regular season and was only in the game because Chandler Parsons fouled out.
Nicolas Batum had a chance to tie the game, but his shot was long.
James Harden led the Rockets with a game-high 37 points (on a franchise record 35 shots), nine rebounds and six assists while Dwight Howard poured in 24 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks.
Damian Lillard had 30 points, six rebounds and six assists, Batum scored 26 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Blazers.
The Rockets got off to a fantastic start, scoring the game’s first nine points and building an 11-point lead by the end of the first quarter, but the Blazers used a 16-0 second quarter run to seize the lead. The Rockets, however, didn’t panic, regaining the lead in the third quarter. The Rockets then started the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run to push the lead to double digits.
The game turned again with the Rockets holding a nine-point lead with 5:16 to play. The Blazers staged a 14-3 run to take the lead with just 1:59 to play. Four quick points gave the Rockets the lead, but a Batum three tied the game. Neither team scored again in regulation.
The performance of Lin should not be overlooked. He finished with 13 points, six assists and four rebounds and made several heads up plays, including finding Daniels for the winner, throughout the night.
Game 4 from Portland is Sunday night at 9:30 pm EST and is on TNT