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Rockets move the series to 3:1 after single-point win
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Yao Ming had 21 points and 14 rebounds to give Houston Rockets a 3:1 lead in the best-of-seven first-round Western Conference playoff series. They are one win away from proceeding to the semi-final.

Yao led the scoring with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Luis Scola added 17 points and Shane Battier shot four 3-pointers to hand the home team a crucial 89:88 win in a tight game.

Bradon Roy scored 31 points for the Blazers but his offensive foul in the final seconds of the game handed victory to the Rockets.

Dominant in the paint, Yao was a constant threat to the away team. The Chinese center won 5 fouls from J. Przybilla and G. Oden in the first half, which forced L. Aldridge to play in center role to mark Yao. However, Yao managed to get 11 points and 6 rebounds in the first two quarters and Rockets led to finish the first half 50:44.

The Blazers decided to front Yao when the second half began, which made it very difficult for Yao to receive the ball in the low post. Blazers then ended the third quarter with an 11:0 run, leading 70:64 into the fourth quarter.

Rockets started the fourth quarter with Yao's slam-dunk and Wafer's 3-pointer, narrowing the gap to one point before Blazers called a timeout.

Battier's 3-pointer with 3'24'' left in the game gave Rockets an 85:83 lead, their first lead in the final quarter. Carl Landry's jumper and Aldridge's free throw kept the score at 87:85 before Rockets called a timeout with 41.4 seconds remaining. R. Artest missed a 20-foot jumper after the timeout and Roy got the defensive rebound with 24.9 seconds left.

In the ensuing attack, Roy was called an offensive foul by referee, which cost Blazers the game. Brooks scored two of his four free throws in the final seconds to nail down the victory for Rockets.

The fifth game will be in two days time at Portland.

(China.org.cn by Xiang Bin, April 27, 2009)

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