I will try to write this with no bias.
Game 1: Rockets
Game 2: Blazers
Game 3: Rockets
Game 4: Rockets
Game 5: Blazers
Game 6: Rockets
I think this is a matchup that goes either way. We match up very well with the Blazers. We have the top 2 perimeter defensive players in Ron Artest and Shane Battier to throw at Roy. We have Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, and Carl Landry to make Lamarcus Aldridge's life hell. We also have a small Chinese guy named Yao Ming to potentially put everyone in foul trouble, granted that the refs call half the fouls that occur. That leaves us with the pg play. I can't say this enough, I wish Kyle Lowry was starting. But since I don't run things, ABZ has a speed advantage while Steve Blake has a fundamental advantage. Blake isn't an offensive threat except the occasional spot up 3, so Brooks doesn't have to work much on defense. Hopefully he'll use that extra energy to get into the lane and shoot a high percentage shot or dish it off to a cutting Scola or open 3 point shooter. And I pray that he just gives Yao touches. If Yao shoots about 20 shots a game, they win. Hold me to it.
Home court is very important because they have two of the best home records. While having mediocre road records. That said, Houston should have swept Portland. The Blazers stole one at home from a 30 foot prayer. We didn't have Battier that game, and I'm sure if we did, those last 2 plays from Roy would have a worse chance of going in. The Rockets will destroy them in Game 1.
1-Because they lost to the Mavs and they will come back as they always do when losing a game they should have won.
2- To send an early message to the Blazers.
3- They're a young team, only 3 players have played in the playoffs.
As the top said, I'll write this with no bias. I think the Rockets are the better team. They've had so many injuries, and had to waste half the season just to find their identity. And they still managed to compete for the #2 seed. The only way the Blazers might win, is with their youth. They're a young team, and if they start knocking down a few shots, they could carry a lot of momentum and take this series. If they start missing a few shots, they could become reluctant to take any more shots.
The bench will be very very very very important in this game. Partially because they will see a lot of minutes because this will be a very physical game and players will get in foul trouble or get tired. The Rockets bench should demolish the Blazers. Von Wafer should offset any offense from Rudy Fernandez. Carl Landry will abuse Channing Frye. Kyle Lowry will score almost at will against Sergio Rodriguez. And on top of that, we'll see minutes from our veterans, Brent Barry and Dikembe Mutombo. Both are high time play off performers so expect 3's and finger wagging from them.
Ron Artest's play will be very key in the playoffs. If he looks to score 40 points a game with 0 assists, the Rockets have a slim chance. If he looks to score 15 points with 4 assists, the Rockets have a very good chance. I'm not worried about defense because he always brings his defense.
All I want from Shane Battier, is fantastic defense(which is a given). And 2-3 spot up 3's. And I'll be perfectly happy.
Luis Scola needs to go to work early. He needs to bang inside against Aldridge because he can easily get 20 points against him. Also he needs to make LA work on defense. I expect 16 points and 8 rebounds from him in this series.
Yao Ming is the reason the Rockets are where they are. He's the center of their offense. Everything must go through Yao unless it's in transition. Yao and Scola must go to work early. I want them to have 80% of the Rockets shots in the 1st quarter. He has to score at least 20 a game with 10 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Rockets will win this series in 6.