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Team Comparison: Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

By Brett David Roberts
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May 2, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews (2) defends Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the first half in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center.Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Shooting Guard: James Harden, Troy Daniels, Nick Johnson vs. Wesley Matthews, C.J. McCollum and Will Barton

James Harden, according to himself, is not only the best 2-guard in the league, but the best player in the world. That should give the Rockets a decisive edge here, even if the grandiose claim is hardly true.

Wesley Matthews has had a successful career thus far after coming to the Utah Jazz as an undrafted rookie. He quickly proved himself a very good shooter and capable defender. So capable, in fact, that he was able to contain James Harden in the playoffs. While a large part of that was due to Harden not getting the whistles he’s accustomed to, that Matthews’ defense kept Harden in check. Contested wing threes were more common, and Harden’s trips to the basket didn’t result in mass free throws as they typically do.

The Rockets have better depth at shooting guard, too. While Troy Daniels and Nick Johnson are both unproven commodities of sorts, Daniels showed some clutch shooting in the playoffs and according to those more familiar with his game, he’s a better playmaker than we’ve been privy to yet. Johnson has the athleticism to be a major spark off the bench, and if he’s able to assume some back up point guard duties, his value increases further.

C.J. McCollum is a guy the Blazers are still high on, though he missed most of his rookie season. He’s a mid-major NCAA player like Lillard, and he could make a major impact. With Lehigh, McCollum led his squad to an upset victory over No. 2 seeded Duke in the 2013 NCAA tourney. That’s something to keep an eye out for.

While Matthews is a very good 2-guard, Harden gives the Rockets a very decisive edge here.

Advantage: Rockets