Sengun scores 27 points as Rockets beat Trail Blazers again

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Alperen Sengun scored 27 points off the bench, Jalen Green had 25 points, and the Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 115-98 on Saturday night to complete a straight sweep.

The Rockets are tied with Orlando at 20-55 for the NBA’s worst record. Houston won 125-106 Friday night.

After scoring just four points from three attempts in Friday’s win over the Blazers, Sengun was determined not to repeat his performance.

“I was mad at myself because I wasn’t focused yesterday,” Sengun said. “I knew I was going to play well today because I was (checked).”

Sengun also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and three assists.

The straight wins are Houston’s first since winning back-to-back games in mid-January.

Trendon Watford led the Blazers with 15 points and 10 rebounds before leaving late with a knee injury. The team announced hours after the match that Watford would be out for at least a week with a hyper-extensive bruise to his knee and bone.

With 3:01 remaining, Watford fell to the pitch and grabbed his left knee after awkwardly stepping on the foot of Houston’s Dennis Schroder. Watford were helped to the locker room by teammates and coaches, unable to put weight on his left leg.

Blazers manager Chauncey Billups said the team were “all playing for the best news, obviously”, and Watford were undergoing an MRI. The team later said Watford would be reassessed after a week out.

After a Watford layup gave the Blazers a one-point lead to start the second half, a 3-pointer from Green put the Rockets ahead 63-61. Houston’s third quarter lead grew to 10 before the Rockets entered the fourth quarter with an 85-78 lead.

Houston avoided injury late in the third quarter after Green’s knee collided with Portland’s Keon Johnson with seven seconds left in the third quarter. Green momentarily made his way to the locker room, but quickly returned to the Rockets bench. Green came back with 5:29 to go after a 3-pointer from Sengun gave the Rockets their biggest lead at 103-90. Green had a fierce block shortly after returning. Another 3-pointer from Sengun extended the Rockets’ lead to 15.

After making just 3 points Friday night, the Blazers eclipsed tonight’s total in the first quarter (four), helping Portland take a 28-24 lead after one.

An alley-oop dunk from Josh Christopher gave the Rockets their first lead of the game at 31-30 with 10:31 left in the second quarter. The teams traded leads several times from then on before the teams entered halftime tied at 60.

ADVICE

Rockets: After a rare road win, coach Stephen Silas stressed to his team the need to put the result behind them. “They won’t want to be beaten two games in a row. This is our approach. Our focus on what it takes to win. That will be all,” he said. … The Rockets also had a first on Saturday, winning a game without guard Eric Gordon in the roster for the first time in 18 tries. They were 0-17 in their first 17 games with Gordon inactive.

Trail Blazers: After making 16 fewer 3-pointers than the Rockets on Friday, Billups stressed he wanted to see Portland create more quality 3-point looks. Billups even said the Blazers could look across the field to figure out how to chase long-range shots. “They made 19 3s in the game, it’s hard to absorb, especially when you go 3 for 20,” Billups said. “They were doing a great job of creating beautiful 3s. We went 3 for 20 but weren’t getting quality shots. We have to be better there too. … The Blazers lost forward Greg Brown to a bruised eye in the first quarter. Billups said after the game, Brown was seeing an eye doctor to determine the severity of the injury.

FOLLOWING

Rockets: Host the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

Trail Blazers: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

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