Houston wins series 4-2 (Game 6 of 6)

Houston wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 18th
Trail Blazers81
Game 2: Tuesday, April 21st
Trail Blazers107
Game 3: Friday, April 24th
Trail Blazers83Final
Game 4: Sunday, April 26th
Trail Blazers88Final
Game 5: Tuesday, April 28th
Trail Blazers88
Game 6: Thursday, April 30th
Trail Blazers76Final

Trail Blazers 76

(54-28, 20-21 away)

Rockets 92

(53-29, 33-8 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    9:30 PM ET, April 30, 2009

    Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 19 18 19 2076
    HOU 21 31 22 1892

    Top Performers

    Por: L. Aldridge 26 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Hou: M. World Peace 27 Pts, 1 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Rockets reach second round for first time since '97

    Associated Press

    HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets finally advanced in the NBA playoffs.

    Ron Artest scored 27 points, Yao Ming had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Houston reached the second round for the first time since 1997, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 92-76 in Game 6 on Thursday night.

    2009 NBA Playoffs

    Want an in-depth look at the playoffs? Check out all the matchups, analysis and opinion here:

    • Playoff pages

    The Rockets drafted Yao with the top overall pick in 2002, and he's played on three of the teams that lost in the opening round. He broke his foot late last season and watched from the bench as the Rockets lost again.

    He embraced teammates with a wide grin moments after this one ended, savoring every moment after his seven-year wait.

    "It's a big step for me," he said. "Even when the clock was running down, I'm still not believing that it's coming true. Obviously now that we know that feeling, we've got to keep moving forward."

    Aaron Brooks scored 13 points and Shane Battier tied a career playoff-high with nine rebounds as the Rockets won for the first time in their last seven first-round series.

    Houston, which lost Tracy McGrady to season-ending knee surgery in February, put this one away with a big second quarter and moves on to play the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night at the Staples Center. The Lakers won all four meetings in the regular season.

    Fast Facts

    • The Rockets won a playoff series for the first time since 1997, snapping a streak of seven straight playoff series lost.

    • The Blazers have lost eight straight at Houston, including the regular season, and have lost five straight playoff series.

    • Ron Artest led the Rockets with 27 points, one shy of his postseason career high.

    • Yao Ming added 17 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double.

    • Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 48 points on 20-of-38 shooting, but the rest of the Blazers scored just 28 points on 10-of-33 shooting.

    -- ESPN Stats & Information

    Artest was shooting only 37.7 percent from the field in the series before producing his best offensive game. He was already talking about the next round.

    "The fans were just so happy to get out of the first round and I'm like 'I'm just not happy to just be out of the first round," he said. "That's just not our goal here. That's not LA's goal, that's not Boston's goal, that is not Cleveland's goal. That is not our goal."

    LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points and Brandon Roy had 22 for the Blazers, who were making their first playoff appearance since 2003. But the Blazers were the youngest team in the playoffs and their inexperience showed. They lost Game 1 in Portland, then dropped all three games in Houston, going out meekly in the finale.

    "This is a great experience for us," said Roy, who averaged 26.6 points in the series. "All our guys are happy that we had a great season, but they have a bad taste in their mouth because you felt like we could have played better this series."

    The last three games had been decided by a total of eight points, but the Rockets turned this one into a rout before halftime.

    Houston, We Have A Problem

    The Rockets will face the Lakers in the Western semis, but have struggled mightily against the conference's top seed. How bad has Houston been? Here's a look:

    Rockets vs. Lakers,
    This Season
    Rockets Lakers
    Wins 0 4
    PPG 89.8 102.8
    3-pt FG pct 28.4 40.4
    Turnovers 18.8 12.3

    The Rockets led 21-19 when Yao went out for his regular rest for the start of the second quarter. Houston took control with a 13-2 run. Reserve guard Von Wafer hit a 3-pointer and grabbed a rebound during the run, showing no effects of the back spasms that bothered him on Wednesday. He was cleared to play by team doctors Thursday, less than an hour before the game.

    The Rockets outscored Portland 31-18 in the quarter and led 52-37 at halftime.

    "Basically, we just couldn't recover from that," Portland coach Nate McMillan said.

    The Blazers cut the lead to 13 early in the fourth quarter, but Yao muscled in a layup and Brooks hit a 3-pointer to make it 81-63. Brooks drove for a layup with 2:45 left to put Houston ahead 87-67, prompting the "Beat L.A." chant from the raucous capacity crowd.

    Yao embraced forward Brian Cook and Artest walked to the Portland bench to shake hands with McMillan as the final seconds ticked off.

    "It's been a long time coming," Battier said. "I've only been here three years, but you feel the frustrations of the fans here. They love a winner here. We're glad that we could get a win for them."

    Game notes

    The team leading at halftime won all nine games between Portland and Houston this season. ... Houston committed only eight turnovers, matching its series low. ... The Blazers outrebounded Houston 42-41, the first time in the series the team that won the battle of the boards lost the game. ... The Blazers have lost 13 of their last 14 games at the Toyota Center.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 76 92
    FGM-FGA 30-71 (.423) 36-78 (.462)
    3PM-3PA 4-11 (.364) 9-24 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 12-16 (.750) 11-14 (.786)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-42 10-41
    Assists 14 14
    Turnovers 15 8
    Steals 3 9
    Blocks 9 4
    Fast Break Points 4 0
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 13 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 4 20

    Top Performers

    LaMarcus Aldridge Aldridge
    Points: 26
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Metta World Peace World Peace
    Points: 27
    Reb: 1
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0