The Houston Rockets are rising.
On Thursday, the Rockets picked up their fourth straight win, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers by a final score of 104-101. Houston overcame a game-high 30 points from Damian Lillard with a balanced effort that saw Victor Oladipo put up 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Christian Wood record a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double and John Wall score 20 points.
Oladipo, Wood and Wall each had their moments throughout, but it was Oladipo who secured the win for the Rockets with a big basket down the stretch.
Let's take a closer look.
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The situation: Oladipo rebounds a missed 3-pointer from Lillard with 52.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Leading 99-98, a basket would give the Rockets some breathing room. Wall gets the first crack at it but misses a pull-up jumper. Tucker comes up with the offensive rebound and gives the ball to Oladipo standing at the top of the perimeter.
The play: Oladipo calls for a pick-and-roll with Tucker, who is being defended by Enes Kanter. With Wall, Wood and Eric Gordon spacing the floor around him, Oladipo gets downhill, leans into Kanter and scores the layup.
Oladipo attacks to extend the Rockets lead to 3!@trailblazers 98@HoustonRockets 101- NBA (@NBA) January 29, 2021
26.2 left on TNT, Portland ball. pic.twitter.com/8RQ8Ylf3ks
Why it matters: Beyond it being a good win for the Rockets, it's good to see Oladipo taking over in the clutch again. In 2017-18, only three players - LeBron James, DeMar DeRozan and Russell Westbrook - scored more clutch points than him on the season. He was among the league leaders again prior to his injury in the 2018-19 season, doing so on .632/.600/.762 shooting splits.
Oladipo returning to that form would be a huge development for the Rockets.
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