Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers game preview

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

The Rockets look to avenge an early-season loss to the Blazers in Portland tonight.

Once again, the NBA gives the Rockets an opponent with more rest than them. This is getting a bit ridiculous. However, this is the NBA, where you suck it up since you're being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars (at minimum). Someone tell Royce White.

The Blazers beat the Lakers in their opening game at home when the Lakers were coming off a game the night before. They also beat the Rockets in OT, and on Tuesday they blew out the Kings.

However, they lost to the Mavs, Clippers, Spurs, and Hawks in an 8-day span. When you look at it, that's a pretty tough opening slate of games that the Blazers have had.

The Blazers are another under-the-radar Western Conference team, but anytime you have the starters they have, there's going to be a good team there. Outside of Hickson, it's probably one of the best starting 5s in the league. And Hickson isn't a slouch either.

Tip off is at 9pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Damian Lillard

If the season ended today, it would be a tough pick between Lillard and Anthony Davis for Rookie of the Year. Lillard is averaging 18/7 and has basically just been a beast for the Blazers. I liked what I saw of Lillard at Weber State (which wasn't much), but I didn't think he'd be this good.

I feel like I say that kind of thing a lot.

Anyway, you guys know I love you, but to those clamoring for Douglas to start and Lin to come off the bench: please stop. That's just ridiculous.

Advantage: Blazers

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Wesley Matthews

It's gotta be all business for Harden tonight. Last time these teams met, Mattews and Batum gave him all he could handle and effectively shut him down.

Waitress: For one?
Carter: No, for two, I'm here for a meeting with Mr. Juntao.
Waitress: I'm sorry I do not know Mr. Juntao.
Carter: Look maybe you don't understand, I'm Mr. Juntao's lawyer, legal advisor, he got into some shit again and he told me to come down here and I'm a very busy man, ain't got time to be down here this late but I'm down here, my wife want me to come home, my baby is shittin' all over the house, he needs diapers, would you please go get Mr. Juntao?

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Nicolas Batum

Just like with Prince, Parsons faces his ceiling tonight. Batum is better slasher and shooter than Parsons, which are things our Emo Prince will have to learn.

Batum will spend plenty of time on Harden, meaning that Parsons can have some 1-on-1 advantages if he wants it. He's also going to get plenty of open threes off of rotations. He's got to hit the big ones.

Advantage: Blazers

Power Forward: Patrick Patterson vs. LaMarcus Aldridge

Aldridge had surgery before the end of last season and missed the offseason. He's still rounding into shape so the Rockets are getting him at less than 100%.

On the other hand, he will get to the line, where he converts a high percentage of his free throws. Instead of begging for him to demand a trade to the Rockets for Royce White, I'm just going to say that I'm a huge LMA fan.

Advantage: Blazers

Center: Omer Asik vs. J.J. Hickson

Asik has found his offense, and that's exactly what the Rockets needed. When your defensive-minded center is making six shots in a game, it's either really bad, or it's great because he's getting easy looks.

Against the Hornets, it was the easy looks. Please stay healthy, big fella.

Advantage: Rockets

Bench

Rockets: Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, Marcus Morris, Greg Smith

Blazers: Meyers Leonard, Jared Jeffries, Ronnie Price, Sasha Pavlovic

Advantage: Rockets

Prediction: Blazers pull away late, win 110-93

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