Isaiah Rider returned from a one-game suspension to score 25 points as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Houston Rockets 105-81 Friday night despite being short three players because of a trade with Toronto.
Earlier in the day, the Blazers sent Kenny Anderson, Alvin Williams, Gary Trent and two first-round draft picks to the Toronto Raptors for Damon Stoudamire, Walt Williams and Carlos Rogers. The new Blazers are expected to join the team for Sunday's home game against Denver.
Rider, who was suspended for leaving the bench during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, was booed early. The jeers quickly turned to cheers when Portland scored the first 11 points and took a 19-4 lead before Hakeem Olajuwon scored Houston's first basket of the game with 5:45 left in the first period. Rider and Sabonis each had nine points in the quarter.
After Houston fell behind 35-16 a minute into the second quarter, Brent Price sparked a 15-0 run that trimmed it to 35-31 with 6:21 left. But Rider scored five points in the last 3:17 to give the Blazers a 53-41 lead at halftime.
The Blazers scored the first seven points of the second half to regain the momentum. With Brunson hitting two of his four 3-pointers in the third period, the Blazers rolled to a 74-57 lead entering the fourth.
Rodrick Rhodes scored 14 and Kevin Willis added 13 for the Rockets.
Notes: Portland's starting lineup of Sabonis, Rider, Brunson, Rasheed Wallace and Stacy Augmon was the 17th different combination this season. All five scored in double figures. ... Portland's Brian Grant was activated and played eight minutes after being on the injured list since Jan. 7 with an injured left leg, sending Alton Lister on the injured list with tendinitis in his left knee. ... Clyde Drexler is 11 assists away from becoming just the fourth player in NBA history to compile 20,000 points and 6,000 assists in a career. ... The Rockets, who fell to 24-25, were trying to get over .500 for the first time since Jan. 18.
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