trailblazers

Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers prediction and preview

PDX back on ESPN

*Update: LaMarcus Aldridge will play (via Portland Trail Blazers)

The Portland Trail Blazers are set to face off against the Houston Rockets on ESPN Friday night.

Matchup: Portland (33-42) vs. Houston Rockets (42-33)
Venue: Rose Garden Arena
Time: 7:30 PM PT
Date: Friday, April 5, 2013

This will be the second time Rip City is featured on national television in about a week, and needless to say, they’ll be looking to play better this time around.

Trail Blazers Houston Rockets

Rip City will have its hands full against James Harden. (Photo: Pat Sullivan/AP)

PDX vs. Brooklyn Nets Recap (Wednesday, March 27)

Game Notes/How They Match Up

Portland and Houston have faced off three times this season, with the Blazers stealing two out of the three. The Blazers can win the series on Friday with a victory, but it’s clear that the Rockets have bigger goals than winning the series against Portland.

Baring a catastrophic finish from the Rockets, the team from Texas will be headed for the playoffs. Baring a complete miracle, the Blazers will be headed for the lottery.

Both teams have exceeded expectations throughout 2012-13, but the Rockets are the ones looking to make some noise and move up to the sixth seed in a tough Western Conference.

What to Watch: Portland

Turnover have killed the Trail Blazers as of late. In their most recent outing, they gave the ball away 16 times, which was the No. 1 reason they fell at home.

In that game, the Blazers shot the ball well most of the way. Their field-goal percentage got away from them as they tried to come back with three-pointers, but good shooting early hardly made up for so many turnovers.

Against the Rockets, Portland has to take care of the ball. Houston knows how to convert in transition, which is going to be a theme if the Blazers play a sloppy game.

What to Watch: Houston

Anytime you play the Rockets, pace has to be your No. 1 focus.

Houston loves to run. If you’re a running team, your goal is to keep up in the points department. If you play a slow-it-down style, you want to lock down defensively and keep them from getting easy buckets.

Portland is tough to predict in this contest, as it has switched its willingness to run off and on throughout the year.

With a young group on the floor, expect the Blazers to take the bait. LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum will be questionable the rest of the season, meaning the prospects on the team will look to score any chance they get.

Wesley Matthews and the Trail Blazers are set to take on James Harden and the Houston Rockets for the second time this season. Photo: The Associated Press

Wesley Matthews and the Trail Blazers are set to take on James Harden and the Houston Rockets for the third time this season. Photo: (AP)

Houston fluctuates between the highest and second-highest points-per-game average in the league, which means this game should be all offense all the way.

Key Matchup

James Harden has emerged as not only a No. 1 option on the Rockets—he’s a top-5 scorer in the entire NBA.

Wesley Matthews is going to have his hands full, but don’t expect his performance to just be defensive.

Wesley Matthews will get open looks against Harden. The Houston 2-guard can be a pesky defender at times, but his focus is scoring, as the entire Rockets team will try and score as quickly as possible.

It’s going to be up to Matthews to make this a physical battle. Harden is going to attack the rim on a regular basis, and Matthews will have to stay low and strong if he wants to contain him.

Injury Report

Portland: Questionable—LaMarcus Aldridge

Houston: DAY-TO-DAY—Chandler Parsons, Carlos Delfino

Prediction

Sorry, Trail Blazers’ fans. Houston is competing for seeding in the playoffs, while Portland is competing for odds in the lottery.

Blazers 98 – Rockets 111

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About Bryant Knox

NWSB Editor. Portland native and Oregon graduate, On a non-stop mission to consume as much Ducks+Trail Blazers content as humanly possible. His love of sports is what attracts him to the game, passion for writing drives him to uncover the stories. Connect w/ Bryant today!
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