LaMarcus Aldridge returned and played very much like an All-Star, but against the high-scoring Houston Rockets, it was not enough Friday at the Rose Garden.
The Blazers just could not stop the Rockets, who are on the verge of ending a three-season playoff drought and got a key 116-98 victory.

The loss was the seventh in a row for Portland (33-43), matching its season-high losing streak from February. With six games left, all but one against teams that are headed to the postseason, the Blazers are staring at the real possibility of 13-game losing streak which would be the franchise’s longest ever to end a season.

To avoid that, Blazers will have to tighten up defensively. Friday was the sixth time in their last seven games that they gave up 100 points and 50 percent field goal shooting.

Aldridge’s return was the night’s highlight for Portland. After missing the previous four games with a sprained right ankle, Aldridge made an immediate impact, scoring two putback baskets, blocking a shot (officially, it was called a rebound) and making a jumper in the game’s first three minutes.

Aldridge finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds and shot 12 for 19 from the field.

“I felt good,” Aldridge said. “A little tender. But for the most part, I felt OK.”

The Blazers, though, just could not stop the Rockets (43-33), who lead the NBA in scoring. Houston got a dominant performance from its backcourt, as James Harden – whose acquisition in a training camp trade from Oklahoma City was the major turning point for the team – had 33 points, seven rebounds and six assist.