Full disclosure: I'm writing this preview before the Rockets take on the Clippers on Monday night. I have to be in clinic super early Tuesday so I can't wait for this West Coast game to end before I write it. So any changes after that game will be updated sometime before Tuesday afternoon.
The Rockets head to Portland for their fourth game in five nights. The Blazers, on the other hand, HAVEN'T PLAYED SINCE SATURDAY ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW STERN WHAT THE H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS IS THIS NONSENSE WE HAVE DWIGHT NOW YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO LOVE US AND GIVE US 1 GAME EVERY THREE NIGHTS COME ON MAN PRETEND WE HAVE KOBE PLEASE!!!
Okay, so now that that's over, it's time to move on to your complaints about my predictions.
1. None of you seem to know what a jinx is. I pick a loss and we keep winning, so I keep picking losses. Superstition 101 you guys.
2. Even if I wasn't jinxing anything (I really wasn't for the Jazz and Clippers games), I think predicting losses on the road shouldn't ever be some kind of surprise. Guess what? Teams play better at home. There's like, statistics and stuff to prove it. Lots of statistics. Also, the Rockets were a terrible (to put it mildly) back-to-back team last season. Really, they just added Howard. That should help, but the rest of the Rockets are still young and generally inexperienced in the ways of grinding out wins on the road when exhausted.
3. Tonight the Rockets are playing their fourth game in five nights. The Blazers are playing their first game in three. The Rockets are better than the Blazers. I'm not debating that. But in Portland with less rest, I think the Blazers win this game. But since you all want me to be a homer, my prediction is 1000-12, Rockets. Happy?
Quick question for Blazers fans: does anyone call the arena the Moda Center? Because I will call it the Rose Garden forever, and I'm not even from Portland.
Quick question for Rockets fans: does anyone hate the Blazers? I feel like Rockets and Blazers fans get along swimmingly all the time and that both teams' fan bases really understand the other.
Tip off is at 9pm CST.
Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Damien Lillard
Raise your hand if you saw Lillard being the stud that he is?
Put your hand down, you're lying.
Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Wesley Matthews
Matthews shut down Harden in the first two matchups last season. Then Harden played pretty well and the Rockets won the next two. As always, Harden's ability to score and create is paramount to the Rockets' success. They should pay me, I know.
Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Nicolas Batum
Batum broke one of those unwritten basketball rules against the Spurs Saturday night. With the Blazers up 112-105, Batum was sitting on 8/12/11. So even though the Blazers could dribble the clock out and win, Batum kind of lackadaisically put up a 30-footer to try to get his triple-double.
He made it.
I don't really have a problem, but I see the argument against it (the Spurs had given up and were letting the Blazers run out the clock). So that's today's poll question.
Power Forward: Dwight Howard vs. LaMarcus Aldridge
This matchup is ridiculously tantalizing. LMA is well-loved around here, and Rockets fans have been trying all offseason to trade Asik for LMA somehow even though it doesn't make much sense for the Blazers. And by much, I mean any.
Center: Omer Asik vs. Robin Lopez
Lopez more than held his own against Asik last season, which is more than most centers can say. I think the reason why is that Lopez is willing to get dirty like Asik. Most other good centers in the league don't put in the work Asik does on the court every night. For that reason I'm leaving this even.
Rockets: Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Aaron Brooks
Blazers: Mo Williams, Joel Freeland, Dorell Wright, Thomas Robinson
Prediction: Rockets win 1000-12. Write it down.