Keys for the Houston Rockets against the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night.
Controlling the Paint
LaMarcus Aldridge went off for 31 points and 25 rebounds in the last matchup, which turned out to be a 111-104 Blazers win on Dec. 12. At the same Dwight Howard has dominated in the previous 2 matchups, averaging a little over 30 points, 15 rebounds, and shooting over 68 percent from the field.
The key player to watch will be Terrence Jones, however, who has had trouble defending Aldridge so far this season. Jones does come in on a little bit of a hot streak, averaging 21.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, and is shooting 58 percent from the field in the past 5 games, and is coming off a career high 36 point performance against the Bucks on Saturday. The Rockets are also 16-3 this season when he scores at least 11 points.
Old Western Shootout
The Blazers come in averaging 109.6 points per game, as well as scoring 110.6 points per 100 possessions, both good for first in the NBA, while the Rockets stand at 5th, averaging 105.1 points per game, and 4th in offensive rating at 107.1 points per 100 possessions. Even though the Rockets have tried to slow things down offensively of late, the up-and-down tempo will come into play Monday night.
Stop The Streak
The last team to complete the Texas Triangle sweep were the Boston Celtics in 2008, and the Blazers are looking to accomplish that feat after beating the San Antonio Spurs 109-100 on Friday, cruising by the Dallas Mavericks 127-111 the day after. The Blazers have also won 5 straight games, and are averaging 113.2 points per game, while shooting 47.3 percent during the streak. Aldridge, himself, has averaged 29 points, 13 boards, and is shooting over 54 percent in the 5 wins.
Tip: 7 PM CT