The crowd at the Moda Center held a moment of silence to honor Dr. Jack Ramsay before game six of the western conference playoff series between the Trail Blazers and Rockets. That would be the last time the Moda Center would be silent before the clock hit .09 left in the game.
Portland came out riding a wave of emotion and went on an immediate 7-0 run before Rockets Coach Kevin McHale called a time out to settle his player’s emotions. After the Rockets calmed their emotions they came back swinging, riding the elite play of center Dwight Howard and guard James Harden.
Through the first five games Harden had not been his usual self as Wes Mathews had hounded him all over the court and sapped the energy from the usually explosive Harden. Harden would not go quietly into that sweet night however. With his team facing elimination James Harden put on an offensive show that had the city of Portland sweating. Harden shot a game high 34 points going 9-for15 from the field including 4-for-6 from the three point line.
Houston rode the momentum of their best backcourt player finally catching fire throughout the game and led for most of the game. Portland’s home crowd wouldn’t let their Blazers fade though. The Rockets would lead by as many as 10 but the Trail Blazers kept mounting comebacks always keeping themselves in striking distance.
Heading into the fourth quarter Portland trailed by only one point 79-78. Every time Portland attempted to push past the Rockets they answered by going inside and riding their work horse Dwight Howard. Howard would score the bulk of his 26 points in the fourth quarter (including an uncharacteristic four in a row from the charity stripe) looking to send the series to a game seven back in Houston.
With the game tied and time expiring Chandler Parsons was able to wrangle a loose ball ant gently lay it up and in for a two point lead leaving the score at 98-96 with less than one second left. This would be the second moment of silence for the Moda Center crowd that evening.
“I was furious, I couldn’t believe that all the work that we put in, the ball bounces their way.” Mathews’ said after the game.
With little hope left Portland set up for one last play looking to run a play for LaMarcus Aldridge and hopefully force overtime. Damian Lillard was able to get free of Chandler Parsons and sweep around to receive a pass from Nic Batum and release the ball from behind the arc and give every Portland bar, living room and seat in the Moda Center one last moment of silence before the ball moved through the net giving Lillard his 25th points and Portland the 99-98 victory.
There would be no more silence in Portland for the remainder of the evening.
Portland will play the winner of The Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs series. Should Dallas advance Portland would have home court in a series that would likely start on Tuesday.