Jan 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) attempts to controls the ball during the third quarter as Houston Rockets small forward Omri Casspi (18) defends at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Trailblazers 126-113. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Houston Rockets v.s. Portland Trail Blazers


Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After coming off of what many fans consider to be the most impressive win of the season, the Houston Rockets are back at it tonight when they face the Portland Trail Blazers. This game is huge when it comes to the Western Conference standings. In the season series, the Rockets have a 2-1 lead. Tonight’s game is at 6:00 PM and can be seen on CSN Houston.

 

Matchups

Point guard: Damian Lillard vs. Patrick Beverley

Two young point guards going head-to-head! Lillard can light up the scoreboard, while Beverley tends to play lock-down defense. Don’t be surprised if Lillard gets a little agitated.

Edge: Trail Blazers

Shooting guard: Wesley Matthews vs. James Harden

Although both are spectacular shooters, Harden has just been on a tear lately, and his defense has actually been pretty good as of late. Unless Portland has a brilliant idea that can stop him, they could be in for a long night.

Edge: Rockets

Small forward: Nicolas Batum vs. Chandler Parsons

This matchup is very similar. Batum and Parsons both play a similar style of basketball. Both can shoot the 3 ball, drive towards the basket, and can play decent defense. Parsons has been a little shaky over these last couple of games, though his defense has been there. If Parsons heats up in this game, watch out!

Edge: Rockets

Power forward: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Terrence Jones

Jones is not capable of containing Aldridge. This matchup provides Portland with a heavy advantage if they keep going down to him. I’d assume that coach McHale switches and puts Dwight Howard on Aldridge. Howard on Aldridge is a different story, as Howard can likely defend Aldridge better than Jones can. The only problem is that Dwight tends to get into foul trouble early if they keep going at him. Despite that Howard may be guarding Aldridge, LaMarcus will still find ways to score, therefore he has the advantage.

Edge: Trail Blazers

Center: Robin Lopez vs. Dwight Howard

Lopez is going to have a long night if he doesn’t receive help from his teammates. Howard will just manhandle Lopez. If Robin doesn’t receive any help, he could find himself in early foul trouble which could really hurt the Trail Blazers. Expect Dwight to get a lot of touches early on. When he does, then you can predict a double team coming from Portland. Pick one! Let Dwight go to work on you, or have the other shooters light you up!

Edge: Rockets

Bench:

Rockets: Jordan Hamilton, Omri Casspi, Donatas Motiejunas, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, Isaiah Canaan, and Francisco Garcia

Trail Blazers: Thomas Robinson, Dorell Wright, Meyers Leonard, Mo Williams, C.J. McCollum, Victor Claver, Earl Watson, and Will Barton

Advantage: Rockets

Injuries:

Houston Rockets: Greg Smith (OUT)

Portland Trail Blazers: Joel Freeland (OUT) Nicolas Batum (Day-to-day, but most likely will play)

Prediction:

I think the Rockets will continue to play great defense, and will hopefully keep the turnovers down. As long as the ball movement is good and everyone contributes, the Houston Rockets should go to 3-1 vs. the Portland Trail Blazers on the season. I got the Houston Rockets winning 102-93.

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