Dec 17, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (right) celebrates with point guard Damian Lillard (0) after Lillard
We’ve been witness to a 4-2 defeat of the Houston Rockets by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2014 playoffs. Thus, it goes without saying that the Blazers have a head up on the Rockets in any potential matchups next year.
The dominance of LaMarcus Aldridge was large in part to blame for the Rockets’ failure last year. Aldridge was virtually unstoppable over the first two games of the series, as Terrance Jones had no answers for the perennial All-Star. Aldridge is a tough cover for any forward, but when Rockets coach Kevin McHale countered with Omer Asik in Game 3, the insanity settled down some.
But now Asik is gone.
That leaves a void to fill in interior defense. And simply, it’s one that neither Terrance Jones nor Donatas Motiejunas can fill.
As if all of that wasn’t problematic enough, there is the rising star Damian Lillard who delivered the knockout blow to the Rockets in Game 6, hitting a contested death dagger three from the left wing. With Aldridge and Lillard only continuing to grow as an elite tandem, can the Rockets answer the call this year?
Let’s look at a position-by-position breakdown of the matchup.