TOPIC: op of the key before Hardens fadeaway tie it with
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- James Harden snapped out of his slump. Omer Asik stopped LaMarcus Aldridge. But it was rookie Troy Daniels who made all the difference for the Houston Rockets. Daniels, who spent time in the D-League this season and didnt make his pro debut until March 5, hit a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left to lift the Rockets a 121-116 overtime victory over the Trail Blazers on Friday night and narrow Portlands first-round playoff advantage to 2-1. Harden finished with a career playoff-best 37 points and Dwight Howard added 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets. Aldridge had more than 40 points in each of Portlands victories in the first two games in Houston. But Asik did a good job of shutting him down in Game 3, holding the All-Star forward to 23 points. The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 30 points. Portland trailed by as many as 11 points in the final quarter but Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to tie the game at 110. Harden missed a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. Lillards layup gave Portland a 116-112 lead with 3:08 left in the extra period. Jeremy Lin hit a jumper from the top of the key before Hardens fadeaway tie it with 1:51 to go. Aldridge missed a jumper over Howard but Lin missed a 3-pointer on the other end before Daniels nailed his 3-pointer. Daniels finished with nine points in the game, all 3s. Before the game, coach Kevin McHale told Daniels to "be ready," the undrafted signee out of Virginia Commonwealth said. "He competes," McHale said. "He dives on the floor for balls. Hes a tough kid." Batum missed a 3 with 4.9 seconds left and Harden made free throws for the final margin. Only three teams have come back to win after losing the first two games of a seven-game series at home: The last was the 2004-05 Mavericks, who came back against the Rockets. Houston is 0-7 overall when falling behind 0-2 in the first round since the 1983-84 expansion. Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday at the Moda Center. "We havent done anything yet," McHale said. "Weve won one game. But it feels a lot better than losing." The Blazers hadnt opened a playoff series 2-0 since 1977, when they got the early jump on the Lakers en route to the Western Conference title. Portland went on to beat Philadelphia for its lone NBA championship. McHale, who acknowledged before the game that his team was frustrated, tinkered with the lineup and started Asik in place of Terrence Jones. Asik did a good job in keeping Aldridge out of the paint and the Rockets responded by coming out with intensity. "The came out and played as they should down two games," Aldridge said. Patrick Beverleys 3-pointer gave the Rockets and early 19-13 lead before Harden finished off the first quarter with a 3-pointer to put Houston up 35-24. Harden and Beverley each finished the first quarter with 11 points. Harden was the leagues top shooting guard in the regular season, but he was 14 of 47 from the field in his opening two playoff games for his worst two-game stretch of the season. Lillards 3-pointer tied it at 38, but Mo Williams and Robin Lopez each hit baskets to put Portland in front and cap a 16-point run. Lillard led all scorers with 16 points at the half and the Blazers had a 55-54 edge. Harden and Chandler Parsons made consecutive 3-pointers to give the Rockets a 71-65 lead midway through the third period. But Portland -- bolstered by a raucous hometown crowd -- kept Houstons lead in single digits until Hardens 3-pointer made it 90-80 with 10:18 to go in the game. Hardens jumper gave the Rockets a 100-91 lead with 6:21 left, but Lilliard made free throws that closed Portland to within 103-98 before a falling-down jumper and a foul shot to make it 103-101 with 4:05 left. Lillard scored on a layup to put Portland in front 107-106 with 1:59 left. After Harden made four straight free throws, Batum made the 3-pointer to tie it. "I thought we had some good looks down the stretch,Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "Lin Harden and Daniels made their shots. And we didnt." NOTES: Houstons Terrence Jones went to Portlands Jefferson High School, leading the team to three straight Class 5A championships before playing for Kentucky. ... Among the fans in the crowd for the Blazers first home playoff game since 2011 were Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who grew up in Portland. ... The Blazers have made at least eight 3-pointers in the in three straight post-season games for the first time in franchise history. Custom San Diego Padres Jerseys . Raonic, the No. 8 seed from Thornhill, Ont., fired 11 aces and did not have a double-fault as he comfortably advanced to the third round at the Masters Series event. Wil Myers Jersey . The two were in the batting cage moments before game time. 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Second-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania advanced easily by beating Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine 6-3, 6-1, while No.Cabbie ponders what its like to sit in the front row of the ESPYS. Henrik Lundqvist will be the only NHLer to receive that honour this year. 2014 ESPYs coming up Wed..please Vote! @LAKings best team, best game, and @AnzeKopitar best @NHL player.. t.co/fuUW5Cc0wR — Jarret Stoll (@jarretstoll) July 14, 2014 Heading to LA tomorrow.. Up for 2 #kidschoicesports & an @ESPYS. You want to help me out? t.co/INFFr190Mg & t.co/h0SLutvnJ8 — Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) July 15, 2014 Henrik and Jarret Stoll are also asking for your support on twitter. But which King will take home the crown for Best NHL Player? The King from NY, or the one from L.A.? Who wants to see Sidney Crosby win another award? Not us. 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