Game Day: Portland Trail Blazers versus Houston Rockets
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston
Game Time: 5:00 PM EST – 4:00 PM CT
TV: ROOT in Houston and CSNNWHD in Portland
Radio: 790 AM in Houston, Rip City Radio 620
- November 18: POR 103-108 HOU
- March 11: HOU 100-105 POR
- February 9: POR 109-98 HOU
- December 23: POR 95-110 HOU
- Noah Vonleh ankle- game time decision
- Terrence Jones – was in a car accident and has since been determined to have a concussion so will be out until Feb 9 at a minimum
- Sam Dekker – back surgery November 20 , out until March 1 minimum
- Donatas Motiejunas – after a stint in the D-League we might finally see DeMo back in action today as he is listed as a game time decision
Keys To Winning:
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All Business: The Blazers sit 2.5 games back of Houston as both the Blazers and Jazz are vying to move up the ladder. With the Blazers on tap 3 times in the next 6 games it’s important the Rockets keep a distance between them while also holding off the Jazz who are charging now that they are healthy.
Defensive Identity: While the Rockets have been consistently inconsistent the truer fact is their defense has been the major issue. With time running out and currently aligned to face a team (Spurs) who would potentially sweep them in the post season it’s important the Rockets start improving on the defensive end asap. Making matters more pressing is the Blazers have shown recent improvements defensively, so Houston can’t afford to slack or Portland will make them pay.
Shut down the Blazers Backcourt: Obviously this is easier said then done with Lillard and McCollum playing at a top level. The goal has to be to limit their touches, challenge their shots and make them work on the defensive end. This is what worked for the Raptors who played the Blazers last. If Harden and whoever is working the point can employ this same strategy as Toronto’s backcourt did it will serve to make the goal of winning that much easier.
The odds makers are favoring the Rockets by 4.5 points with an over – under of 217.5 and heavy action on the Rockets.
Personally after watching this Blazers team play the Raptors as if this was a playoff contest I’m convinced Lillard simply won’t concede the fact his team doesn’t have enough talent. It’s pretty amazing he has that type of competitive spirit and I’ll just throw it out that it bodes well for a hasty rebuild in Portland. So, as much as this should be a win for Houston given their depth I’m having a hard time believing it’s a given they’ll beat the Blazers. If only the Rockets could display half as much fight as Lilliard and his under experienced, less talented squad H-Town fans wouldn’t be suffering this brutal see saw season.
Given these undeniable observances I’ll take the Blazers in an upset.
For more exciting news and stories on the Portland Trail Blazers visit our affiliate Fansided site: Rip City Project
And check our our Preseason Team Preview of the Portland Trail Blazers:
And while you are here why not check our our countdown to the trade deadline series:
With the trade deadline around the corner make sure you visit Space City Scoop daily for our trade series. Each day SCS will feature an article on who the Rockets should trade for or what it would take to part ways with the players currently on the roster. Finally we’ll assess the Rockets and each team in the Association in terms of what their needs are, if they should be buyers or sellers and also speculate on who would be the ideal trade target.