Nov 17, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives inside while Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets follow up their recent oust of the Kings with another road game in Portland facing the Trail Blazers.
Houston Rockets began the season with their explosive offense posting several victories. Portland who’ve jumped out of the gate the past several seasons have been less fortunate.
And while the Rockets continue to rule the Association with their 3-ball, this week they learned they’ll need to add another component to the mix if they want to be among the top contenders. For their part the Blazers have gotten somewhat back on track with a minor tweak to their starting line-up, but their front court remains an issue.
This is the second meeting between the squads, the first occurring just 10 days ago when the Rockets came out the victors. Including that game the Rockets have won 4 of their last 5 games (lone loss to Raptors) while the Blazers are 2-4 (wins versus Nets and Pelicans).
Though the Rockets record doesn’t scream ‘problems’ the Raptors showed Houston this week they’ll need to add something else to their arsenal besides 3-point shooting. Similarly, the Blazers have discovered they need something besides their incredible backcourt to become a true contender.
Both squads continue to struggle defensively and will look to this outing to shore up that end of the court.
With that, SCS offers up the Game Day Countdown:
Next: Trail Blazers off season moves
Nov 18, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) drives against Portland Trail Blazers forward Allen Crabbe (23) in the first half at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Round 1: N/A
Round 2: Jake Layman (47)
2016 Free Agents prior to July 1, 2016:
- Gerald Henderson
- Chris Kaman
- Brian Roberts
Moves made following July 1, 2016:
- Re-signed forward Meyers Leonard to a reported four-year, $41 million deal
- Allen Crabbe 4-year, $75M (Blazers reverses initial decision and matched Nets offer)
- C.J. McCollum a 4-year extension of $106M
- Maurice Harkless finally locked up his contract on a 4-year, $42M deal.
Next: Starting Five
Nov 17, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) looks to drive inside past Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Shooting Guard: Patrick Beverley – 8.4 points, 4.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds 8.3 points, 3.3 assists, 1.3 reboundsMedia Day Interview
Blazers Starting 5:
Point Guard: Damian Lillard – 28.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds
Shooting Guard: CJ McCollum 22. points, 3.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds
Small Forward: Maurice Harkless – 12.1 points, 5.6rebounds, 37.3% from three
Power Forward: Ed Davis – 3.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists
Center: Mason Plumlee – 9.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists
Next: The Reserves
Nov 17, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Corey Brewer (33) during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets Bench:
- Eric Gordon – 15.2 points, 2.7 assists, 2.2 rebounds Media Day
- Tyler Ennis – 2016 Ennis preview
- Bobby Brown – Rockets announce 15 man roster
- Corey Brewer – 2016 SCS Brewer preview
- Sam Dekker – 2016 SCS Dekker preview
- Kyle Wiltjer – Get to know more about Wiltjer
- Nene Hilario – 2016 SCS Nene Preview
- Montrezl Harrell – 2016 SCS Harrell Preview
- Chinanu Onuaku – Analyzing the Rockets 37th pick
Guards: Shabazz Napier, Evan Turner
Wings: Allen Crabbe, Pat Connaughton, Tim Quarterman
Bigs: Festus Ezeli, Meyers Leonard, Noah Vonleh, Jake Layman
Next: Game Particulars
Nov 4, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea (5) drives to the basket against Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu (8) during the first half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The Venue: Moda Center, in Portland, Oregon
First Meeting of 2016: In the first game between the teams the Rockets handled the Blazers easily winning by a large margin – 126 to 109
The Tip: 9PM EST, 8:00 PM CT
TV: Root Sports in Houston
Radio: 790 AM in Houston
- Al Farouq Aminu – calf, the foward is expected to remain out until late December. His absence from the starting line-up coincided with many of the issues the Blazers have faced.
- Ezeli continues to rehab the knee, participating in limited practice sessions. In a recent update the star is said to be looking at a second opinion on his surgically repaired knee.
Next: Keys to Win
Feb 10, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) looks to pass around Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) during the second quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
Focus on the backcourt: The return of Patrick Beverley has brought a consistency to the starting line-up. Still, Harden and Beverley will have their hands full with the offensive brilliance of Dame Lillard ad C.J. McCollum. While it may be impossible to contain both Mike D’Antoni will need a solid game plan to limit at least one of them, or at the very least either stop them from driving or from the field. The best case scenario would be to to hold both below their averages. That will be easier said than done. Lillard is the key as he is tied with Harden for 4th in points scored per game.
More from Space City Scoop
- 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
- Houston Rockets: Evan Mobley worth a look at No. 2 in NBA Draft
- Houston Rockets: Ranking the top-five 2021 NBA draft prospects
Pair “3” with “D”: The Blazers rank 28th in the Association in number of threes allowed by their opponents and rank dead last for opponent field goal attempts. Still, the Rockets need to resist the temptation to just hoist up threes and not rely on their defense. Houston has to remember the team who sits directly behind them in attempted 3 pointers is Portland. That means the Blazers are just as likely to get hot and take over a game, so defense is critical.
Painting a picture: The Rockets boast a better result in the paint averaging 45.8 points per game. In comparison the Blazers score 41.9. Houston should look to drive the ball as the Blazers allow their opponents to score 46.9 points in the paint. Notably since the Blazers have brought Ed Davis back to the starting line-up they’ve played better overall, but they are missing Aminu as their multiple losses without him demonstrate.
For more details on the Blazers check out SCS 2016-17 team preview:
Want your voice heard? Join the Space City Scoop team!
Enjoy the season Red Nation and be sure to stay connected with Space City Scoop as our amazing team of writers keep you abreast of all things Houston Rockets.