HOUSTON (AP) — Jeremy Lin was so unhappy with his performance in Houston's Game 4 loss to Portland that he hardly slept at all after the game.
Lin should sleep like a baby after his work in Game 5.
Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Lin came off the bench to score 21 points and help the Rockets beat the Trail Blazers 108-98 on Wednesday night to avoid elimination.
"I just tried to be aggressive," said Lin, who had four points and three turnovers in Sunday's overtime loss. "I felt like I needed to be a spark for the team."
The Trail Blazers lead the first-round series 3-2 entering Game 6 on Friday in Portland.
A basket by Damian Lillard got the Trail Blazers within two points before James Harden stepped back and swished a 3-pointer to make it 103-98 with about three minutes left. The shot brought the crowd, which was clad almost completely in red shirts emblazoned with the words "Clutch City" on them, to its feet.
That started an 8-0 Houston run to close it out. Harden finished with 17 points and seven assists.
"I really hadn't did anything the first two quarters, so it was time for me to step up and make plays," Harden said.
Houston finally slowed down LaMarcus Aldridge, limiting him to eight points, after he averaged 35.3 points in the first four games. Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 27 points and Lillard added 26.
"We had opportunities to make shots, but we didn't make certain shots that we needed," Aldridge said. "We didn't get the big stops that we needed. They played well down the stretch and we didn't."
Lin got extended minutes on Wednesday night with Pat Beverley dealing with a 101-degree fever. Beverley had five points in 21 minutes.
The Trail Blazers said the two shots Lin hit as the shot clock expired were deflating.
"He threw up some crazy shots," Lillard said. "That's when you know a guy is having a good night. They would put one up at the end of so many good defensive possessions, and it's going in. That let you know what kind of night it was."
The Rockets led by as many as 17 points in the first half. Portland cut it to one point three times in the fourth quarter, but never went back on top.
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