The Blazers sit a game back of the Rockets, but it's one of those "the Rockets have played two more games and won them," so really the the Rockets have two more wins while the Blazers have two games in hand.
Those two games won't be made up tonight, as the two teams battle in Houston. The Trail Blazers have been a nightmare for the Rockets so far. They are 0-2 from the Pacific Northwest foes, with both losses coming in overtime.
There's more: in both games, the Rockets had leads of 8 and 7 points at halftime, respectively. In both games, the Blazers blitzed the Rockets coming out of the half in the third quarter. The Rockets had a chance to win the first game in regulation, but Wes Matthews stripped James Harden before he could get a shot up. In game 2, Marcus Morris hit a three to send the game to overtime, where the Rockets lost by 2.
In their last matchup, three Blazers scored 27 or more.
Tip off is at 7pm CST.
Give Lillard the Rookie of the Year already. Every writer seems to have done so.
I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it (he does so far), but it seems like this always happens: someone does well, they get some hype, then everyone refuses to think differently. If Lillard played poorly for the rest of the season, I guarantee he'd still win the award.
I feel the need to now explain that I like Lillard a lot. He just doesn't like the Rockets.
In both games, the script went like this: Lillard struggles early, takes a bunch of shots, can't hit anything. Suddenly, in the second half, he catches fire and can't miss to save his life. Apparently he's shooting 42%, but he's not shooting that against us. That number is 52% against the good guys. That gives him an average of 24/7/6 against us. Scary.
In his last two games, Matthews is averaging 22 points on over 50% shooting, including 45% from beyond the arc. Put simply, he's feeling it at the wrong time for the Rockets.
Not to sound all doom and gloom, but this Blazers team just gets scarier and scarier. Hopefully their forwards aren't that good.
Asik will be busy tonight. He could see time on Aldridge, especially late in the game when Hickson sits. Plus, Hickson is more of a 3 than a 5, but he's done some great things this year and has sacrificed for the group. The final product is that he's having a career year (13/11 with a PER above 20) while playing center at a height of 6-9.
Hickson will be a free agent this summer and will be getting a lot of attention. A lot.
Prediction: Rockets flip the script, win 122-117 in OT.