Lillard has been thrilled with contributions from Anthony, who found a home with the Trail Blazers after spending several months without a team last year after a brief stint with the Rockets.
“I think it’s more disappointing that people are surprised,” said Lillard. “He’s a Hall of Fame member… he’s a great teammate and that’s what we expect from him. ”
Coach Terry Stotts loves the way Anthony has evolved to help his team.
“Earlier in his career the ball would have been in his hands to start,” Stotts said. “He assimilated to his role and to this team. He loves the game. He loves the camaraderie, he loves being in the NBA. ”
Lillard added two free throws and Anthony, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds, made one in the last minute to secure the victory for Portland, who is battling for a playoff berth.
“We understand what’s at stake and we know what we need to do to give ourselves a chance in the playoffs,” said Lillard. “And that’s what we do. ”
James Harden led Houston with 23 points and nine assists on a night where he was held back by serious problems.
“I couldn’t be as aggressive as I wanted to be,” he said. “But we’ve had a lot of open shots and if we do those open shots it’s a different ball game. ”
Jeff Green added 22 points, a season-high as the Rockets first lost in the bubble after winning their first two games.
The Blazers were up six midway through the final quarter after CJ McCollum and Lillard made back-to-back baskets. But Green scored all of Houston’s points in a 7-1 push that tied him at 98 a minute later.
McCollum finished with 20 points as the Blazers shot 1 1/2 games behind eighth-placed Memphis.
“Our biggest problem with the whole game is primarily that we didn’t come out with a lot of energy, and our defense was pretty slow to start,” said Houston coach Mike D’Antoni.
The game was tied again later in the fourth when Gary Trent Jr. scored 3 points to put Portland ahead 103-100. A driving layup by Harden cut the lead to one with about 2 minutes to go.
Danuel House had a 3-pointer to bring the Rockets to within two halfway through the third quarter. Lillard then scored all of Portland’s points in a 9-3 run that pushed the lead to 82-74 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third.
Lillard had a three-point play, then sank 3s on back-to-back possessions to give the Trail Blazers the lead. Harden spent the last five minutes of the third quarter on the bench after catching his fifth foul on Lillard’s three-point play.
Hassan Whiteside had four points for the Trail Blazers at the end of the third, but Austin Rivers capped the quarter with a 3 to take Houston 86-80 to start the fourth.
Rockets: G Eric Gordon remains with a sprained left ankle. … Russell Westbrook made just 5 of 12 free throws and finished with 15 points and nine assists to break a 36-game streak with at least 20 points. … Green scored five 3 points.
Trail Blazers: Trent had 16 points and made four 3.… Jusuf Nurkic scored 18 points and 19 rebounds.
Rockets: Play the Lakers Thursday night.
Trail Blazers: Play Denver Thursday.