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Rockets vs. Blazers game preview: if Houston is going to try to win one game, it’s this one

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This is the last game on the schedule that Houston really should try to win.

The Rockets own Portland’s first round pick in this summer’s NBA Draft thanks to the Robert Covington trade. That pick looks likely to end up in the early 20s, and even a win for Houston tonight probably doesn’t do much to change that. The Blazers are a game up in the loss column on the Los Angeles Lakers for the 6th seed and own the tiebreaker. The dream scenario for Houston would be for the Blazers to drop into the play-in round and advance to the actual playoffs. That would help the pick by a couple of spots, but wouldn’t really change much.

As we (and others) have mentioned, this year’s draft is a bit unique. In most years, there are a couple of well-defined top tiers of prospects. There’s the “potential superstar” tier, the “potential star” tier, the “potential rotation piece” tier, then the “projects” tier. It feels like this year we have a well-defined top 4, a fifth player (Jonathan Kuminga) that is raw but has shown flashes, then a “everyone else” tier that no one knows what to do with just yet.

Moving up in the draft is nice, but this year the difference between the 18th and 22nd picks may not mean much since I think a lot of teams’ draft boards will look really different after the first five picks.

Anyway, Portland is red-hot, need a win to stay ahead of the Lakers, and need a win to try to catch the Mavericks for the fifth seed. So Houston’s chances of pulling out a road win here are slim-to-none.

Tip-off is at 9pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest


How many points does Damian Lillard drop tonight?

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