Blazers catch Rockets at 4th-quarter buzzer, prevail in OT

Anfernee Simons scored 33 points, Jerami Grant ended regulation with a game-tying 3-pointer and the visiting Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the Houston Rockets 137-131 in overtime on Wednesday.

Grant had 21 points and nine assists, and it was his bank shot at the buzzer that forced the extra period. The Trail Blazers methodically pulled away in overtime, with Deandre Ayton (18 points, 17 rebounds) converting a critical second-chance basket with 10.2 seconds left.

Simons shot 13 of 20 and added six rebounds and five assists. Malcolm Brogdon totaled 19 points and six assists for Portland, and it was his inbounds pass that set up Grant for the game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation.

Alperen Sengun posted 30 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Rockets, while Jalen Green scored 29 points. However, Houston went cold from the perimeter late, shooting 1-for-10 on 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.

A riveting back-and-forth battle that started in the third quarter continued throughout the fourth. The Trail Blazers grabbed a 116-114 lead when Ayton scored in the paint with 2:35 left, but the Rockets responded with an 8-2 spurt keyed by consecutive turnovers from Simons.

Sengun capitalized on Simons’ second turnover, scoring on a dunk. He followed that with a nifty finger roll from the block, giving Houston a 122-118 lead with 53.1 seconds left. Brogdon then sank a corner trey before the Rockets’ Aaron Holiday made two free throws with 1.6 seconds left. Grant forced the extra period with his buzzer-beating 3-pointer, knotting the score at 124-124.

Simons was the linchpin in the Trail Blazers’ 41-point third quarter with 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting. His three-point play at the 3:24 mark gave Portland an 88-86 lead, reclaiming the edge the Trail Blazers secured when Matisse Thybulle nailed a trey for a 74-72 lead minutes earlier. Thybulle and Grant combined to score 18 points in the frame, which featured 11 lead changes and three ties.

Brogdon caught fire with three baskets down the stretch of the first half. The Trail Blazers, who trailed by as many as 13 points, clawed within 63-57 entering the break behind Simons (13 points) and Ayton (10 points, nine boards). Green (19 points) and Sengun (10 points) steadied the Rockets.