Lin should sleep like a baby after his work in Game 5.
“I just tried to be aggressive,” said Lin, who had four points and three turnovers in Sunday’s overtime loss. “I felt like I needed to be a spark for the team.”
A basket by Damian Lillard got the Trail Blazers within two points before James Harden stepped back and swished a 3-pointer to make it 103-98 with about three minutes left. The shot brought the crowd, which was clad almost completely in red shirts emblazoned with the words “Clutch City” on them, to its feet.
“I really hadn’t did anything the first two quarters, so it was time for me to step up and make plays,” Harden said.
Houston finally slowed down LaMarcus Aldridge, limiting him to eight points, after he averaged 35.3 points in the first four games. Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 27 points and Lillard added 26.
“We had opportunities to make shots, but we didn’t make certain shots that we needed,” Aldridge said. “We didn’t get the big stops that we needed. They played well down the stretch and we didn’t.”
Lin got extended minutes on Wednesday night with Pat Beverley dealing with a 101-degree fever. Beverley had five points in 21 minutes.
“He threw up some crazy shots,” Lillard said. “That’s when you know a guy is having a good night. They would put one up at the end of so many good defensive possessions, and it’s going in. That let you know what kind of night it was.”
The Rockets led by as many as 17 points in the first half. Portland cut it to one point three times in the fourth quarter, but never went back on top.
Terrence Jones added a basket for Houston after the big 3 by Harden before Howard got after Aldridge on the other end. He blocked his short jump shot, sending it out of bounds. Portland got the ball back and Aldridge got the ball again, but he badly missed a shot with Howard in his face as the shot clock expired, leaving Aldridge yelling for a foul.