Harden cooks Vonleh for easy layupJames Harden puts the moves on Noah Vonleh and sinks an uncontested layup in the fourth quarter.
Paul drove for a layup the next possession, blowing by Portland point guard Damian Lillard, who had a spectacular offensive performance (35 points and nine made 3-pointers, which tied a franchise record) but got picked on repeatedly on the other end of the floor. Paul dished out dimes the next three trips: a feed to P.J. Tucker for a fast-break layup off a steal, a bullet to Trevor Ariza for a transition 3 that gave the Rockets the lead for good and a drop-off to Tucker for a layup after driving past Lillard.
The Blazers, eager not to finish a home stand 0-4, were aggressive early, as Lillard hit two 3-pointers but also drew two fouls during the first 3 minutes. Midway through the first quarter, Lillard stepped in front of Paul and earned a charging foul, touching off a battle of words that resulted in technicals to Portland’s Meyers Leonard and Paul.
Lillard’s 3-pointer gave Portland its largest lead of the first half at 57-46, but Houston outscored the Blazers 16-5 during the final 5:37 to pull even at 62 at halftime.
Shazier was moving his arms and hands, but there was concern because of minimal movement in his legs.
The Bengals had the ball for the first time when Shazier was injured and capitalized on a Ben Roethlisberger interception with a 35-yard Randy Bullock field goal with 10:48 remaining in the first quarter.
The Steelers did not immediately provide a status for Shazier, but did confirm a back injury. After a brief evaluation in the locker room, Shazier was transported to a nearby hospital. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and the Steelers said there would be no further updates until after the game.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said following Pittsburgh’s 23-20 comeback win he did not have an update on Shazier. He did say the 25-year-old linebacker was “receiving the necessary medical attention.”