Thursday , Dec , 21 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Randolph leads Trail Blazers over Rockets

Portland, OR (Sports Network) – Zach Randolph scored 24 points and grabbed
13 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers held off a late charge to edge the
Houston Rockets, 89-87.

Jarrett Jack scored 13 points for Portland, which won a season-high fifth
straight game. Travis Outlaw scored 12 points for the Trail Blazers.

Yao Ming scored 34 points and pulled down nine boards for the Rockets, who
have lost four of five. Rafer Alston scored 20 points and dished out eight
assists, and Luther Head scored 17 points for Houston.

Alston hit a three with 1.7 seconds left to bring the Rockets to within one at
88-87. Randolph was fouled immediately following the ensuing inbound pass,
leaving only seven-tenths of a second on the clock. Randolph hit his first
free throw and missed the second, but Shane Battier was unable to pull down
the rebound, turn, and get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded.

Houston had a chance to tie the game with just under a minute left, when Juan
Dixon missed a jumper, giving the Rockets possession down 84-82. Head worked
an open mid-range jumper off of a screen by Yao, but the shot rimmed
out. Brandon Roy hit a running layup to put the Blazers up 86-82 with 19.9
seconds left, and the Rockets were unable to bridge the two-score gap.

Yao scored 17 points in the third quarter, but the Blazers were able to keep
the Rockets at arms length, and an Outlaw bank shot as time expired in the
quarter put Portland up 70-60 going into the final 12 minutes.

The teams played neck-and-neck through the first quarter, and three Alston
free throws with five seconds left tied the game at 20-20 going into the
second quarter. Randolph scored 11 points in the quarter, keeping the Blazers
in the game.

A Yao jumper brought the Rockets to within 34-31 with 6:48 left in the half,
but the Blazers responded with 10 straight points. An Ime Udoka layup closed
the run, putting Portland up 44-31 with 1:16 left. A Head three with just
under a minute left sent the Rockets into halftime down ten, at 44-34.

Game Notes

Portland’s five-game winning streak is it’s first since February of
2004…Houston hit 19-of-20 free throws, with Yao sinking 10-of-11.