Houston will be on a back-to-back tonight, but will be getting Russell Westbrook since he sat against the Grizzlies. Tonight begins a four-game homestand for Houston against the Blazers and three Western Conference playoff teams in the LA Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Denver Nuggets. Houston’s goal should be to go 3-1 over this stretch. In fact, the rest of January features only West teams that are in the playoff spots or are fighting to get into one of those spots. If the Rockets play at the level they did against the Thunder or Grizzlies, a huge slide could be coming.
The Blazers didn’t have Carmelo Anthony active when the teams last met, so this will be Melo’s first game back in Houston since the Rockets released him. Portland has struggled this year but you have to expect their talent to keep them in the hunt for a postseason berth. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum haven’t gone anywhere, and Hassan Whiteside is capable of big games.
Tip-off is at 8:30pm CT on ESPN