Lillard scores 21 to help Portland beat Houston

The Trail Blazers beat the Houston Rockets 96-79

Damian Lillard, Tiago Splitter
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, drives past Atlanta Hawks center Tiago Splitter during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

HOUSTON (AP) – Damian Lillard had 21 points and 10 assists to lead a balanced scoring attack and the Portland Trail Blazers built a big lead early and rolled to an easy 96-79 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

The Trail Blazers were up by 19 at halftime and scored the first six points of the third quarter to make it 61-36 with about 10 minutes left in the quarter.

James Harden made four quick points after that before the Trail Blazers used a 13-2 run – with 3s from Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Al-Farouq Aminu – to push the lead to 74-42.

The Rockets scored the last 11 points of the quarter, with the first nine from Harden, to cut the lead to 74-53 entering the fourth. But Portland opened the fourth with an 8-2 spurt.

Harden led the Rockets with 33 points.

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