Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs Portland Trail Blazers

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After a win for the Rockets, that saw them take an NBA record, 50 threes, they head to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers. James Harden leads the Rockets in both scoring and assists, at 28.3 points and 12.4 assists per game, while they are led in rebounds by Clint Capela, who is at 8.7 a game. Going into Sunday’s game, the Rockets rank 6th in offensive rating, 23rd in defensive rating, and 10th in net rating.

The Trail Blazers are definitely not where they wanted to be this season, sitting at an 9-9 record (which they are lucky to be at as Basketball Reference has them at a predicted win-loss record of 7-11). Considering the fact that the Trail Blazers have the second highest payroll in the NBA, being a .500 team is a major disappointment. The Blazers are led in scoring and assists by Damian Lillard, who averages 28.3 points and 5.3 assists per game, and in rebounds by Mason Plumlee at 6.9 rebounds a game. The Blazers rank 8th in offense, last in defense, and 19th in net rating.

Starting Lineups

The Rockets are likely to continue to start with James Harden at point guard, Patrick Beverley at shooting guard, Trevor Ariza at small forward, Ryan Anderson at power forward, and Clint Capela at center, with Eric Gordon getting starter’s minutes.

Due to an injury to Al-Farouq Aminu, the Trail Blazers have been trying to find a starter at the four to replace him, putting Ed Davis in that role the last five games. Expect to see the Trail Blazers start the game with Damian Lillard at point guard, C.J. McCollum at shooting guard, Maurice Harkless at small forward, Ed Davis at power forward, and Mason Plumlee at center.

Three Things to Watch

  • Round II- After getting blown out in Houston the last time these two teams played, the Trail Blazers will be out for revenge. Watch to see if the Rockets are able to take care of business like they did the last time they met the Blazers.

  • Rebounding- The Trail Blazers rank 24th in the NBA in both offensive and defensive rebound percentage, showing that they are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. Watch to see if the Rockets, namely Capela and Beverley, can punish the Trail Blazers on the glass for extra possessions.

  • Defense, defense, defense- After a stretch of good defensive games, the Rockets defense fell apart when they played the Raptors, falling from 20th to 24th in defensive rating. Watch to see how the Rockets perform against a top ten offense in Portland.


Prediction and Tip-Off

The Trail Blazers have not been good this season, so this is another game the Rockets should win, even on the road. I predict another Rockets win, to go with a big game from Clint Capela.

Tip-off will be at 8:00 P.M. Central Time at the Moda Center in Portland on Sunday, November 27th. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports with the radio broadcast on Sports Talk 790-AM.

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