Game Day Preview: Houston Rocket vs. Portland Trail Blazers
The last time the Houston Rockets met the Portland Trail Blazers they played them twice in five days with the Blazers taking both games. That led to the Blazers passing Houston and they’ve since gone on to move up to the sixth seed. Meanwhile the Rockets are in free fall currently sitting outside the playoffs.
In the days since their last game in Portland the Rockets have been mired in bad press focused on Daryl Morey shopping half the team, players returning due to failed medical exams and the major chemistry issues of the team.
Portland on the other hand has been winning based on the motivated play of Damian Lillard who has made it his personal mission to send a message to teams who shafted him by not selecting him as an All-Star Game. Expect another effort this evening.
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, OR
Game Time: 10:30 PM ET, 9:30 PM CT
TV: ESPN, TSN 1, KGWHD, ROOT
Radio:790 AM, Rip City Radio 620, Sirius: 207 (Internet H:904/A:890)
The Blazers hold he edge 2-1 so the Rockets need to win this game just to even the series.
- February 10, 2016: POR 116 – HOU 103 – 116 POR
- February 6, 2016: HOU 79 – POR 96
- November 18, 2015: POR 103 – 108 HOU OT
Portland Trail Blazers
- no injuries listed
- Marcus Thornton – was out on Tuesday and is listed as probable for tonight
- Donatas Motiejunas – listed as a game time decision
- Sam Dekker is still recovering from back surgery but nearing a return, listed as available for March 1
Portland Trail Blazers
Keys To Winning:
All Business: The Rockets are currently positioned outside the playoffs and have forced themselves into a do or die situation in terms of winning with not many games left to change their fortune. Worse because they haven’t improved or found any consistency even getting into the post season now will be a struggle so it’s likely they’ll face one of the top 3 Western teams which is almost a death sentence given how they’ve played to date. That said (and I’m reiterating what I’ve said all season)… it will take playing consistently with good fundamental habits.
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.
low 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 works for teams who beat them. If Harden and whoever is working the point can employ this strategy it will serve to make the goal of winning that much easier.
More from Space City Scoop
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- Houston Rockets: 2 pros and cons to re-signing Kelly Olynyk
- Why Tad Brown is the Rockets’ biggest loss to date
- Rockets legend in awe over Stephen Curry’s level of play
- Rockets fiasco shows importance of Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook
The odds makers are favoring the Blazers by 4.5 points which is the same margin they favored the Rockets last time out. Just goes to show how rapidly the Rockets have fallen off. The over – under of 222 points and heavy early action on the Blazers.
Damian Lillard has been on his revenge tour since being shafted once again for the All-Star Game, so expect him to show James Harden why it should have been him who filled one of the coaches picks in the backcourt..
I’d love to take the Rockets, but they’ve done nothing to warrant my belief in them. As Bickerstaff says they are broken so perhaps it’s time they choose to tank, so they can at least retain their pick.
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:
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