HOUSTON (AP) - All throughout their game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Kyle Lowry came through for the Houston Rockets.
Lowry hit 33 points, including a crucial late 3-pointer, and Kevin Martin, who tied for the NBA lead in free throws made last season, hit four clutch free throws in overtime to lift the Rockets to a 107-105 victory over the Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
``It was a dirty, ugly game,' Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. ``We found a way to win it.'
LaMarcus Aldridge's basket with 23 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime tied at 97. Portland lost its third straight game.
Martin, who finished with 28 points, scored Houston's final six points with a layup and four free throws over the final 32 seconds of the extra period.
Nicolas Batum had a season-high 29 points to lead Portland. Aldridge had 22 points and 10 rebounds.
``I'll tell you what we did,' McHale said. ``We did a pretty good job of rebounding the ball against a real active team and Kyle, Kevin and Chase (Budinger) really stepped up big because we were having problems getting offense out of other places.'
After trailing much of the game, Portland rallied from an 84-76 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to take a 91-90 lead on three free throws by Jamal Crawford, who was fouled by Martin while attempting a 3-pointer with 6:20 to play.
Gerald Wallace added a layup for a 93-90 lead but the Rockets weren't finished. Lowry's 3-point basket with 31 seconds left gave Houston a 97-95 lead. Aldridge's jumper tied it with 23 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.
``I was shooting it (3-pointer) no matter what,' Lowry said. ``I got the opportunity to take the shot and I made it. It was a great screen by (Luis) Scola.'
Houston fought hard for a 58-53 halftime edge after leading by 14 points in the second quarter.
Lowry scored 11 points in the third period, helping the Rockets open a 84-76 lead going into the final quarter.
Houston had to deal with foul trouble beginning in the second quarter when starters Luis Scola and Samuel Dalembert each picked up their third fouls and the each got their fourth early in the third.
The Rockets led 50-36 with 3:36 to go in the second quarter but had to withstand a 3-point shooting performance by Batum to keep their five-point halftime lead.
Batum hit five of his six first half 3-point baskets, including three in the final three minutes of the second quarter to keep the Trail Blazers within striking distance. He finished 6 of 7 from 3-point range.
``I got a lot of open shots, some easy layups and I was making free throws,' Batum said. ``I let the game come to me and I was very aggressive. I am defense first and then the offense comes.'
Houston used an 11-0 spurt to take the early first quarter lead and held a 27-21 advantage at the end of the quarter. Lowry had 11 points and Dalembert grabbed seven rebounds to help the Rockets.
``We did the plays at the end that we are comfortable with,' Aldridge said. ``It wasn't execution at the end, we just missed our shots. We didn't shine at the end.'
NOTES: The Rockets have built double digit leads in each of their last five games. They are 3-2 in those games. ... Houston has won 21 of the last 29 games against Portland. The Trail Blazers are 2-13 in their last 15 games at Toyota Center. ... Marcus Camby left Portland's last game with a left ankle sprain. X-rays were negative but he sat out Saturday night's game. Camby leads the Trail Blazers with 8.2 rebounds and 1.27 blocked shots per game. ... Greg Ogden sat out for the Blazers with a knee injury.
The Associated Press News Service
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