Tuesday night, prime time brings us a Western Conference showdown. The Houston Rockets meet the Portland Trail Blazers in what should be a solid offensive battle. The Blazers are 1-1 since entering the NBA’s seeding games, while the Rockets are 2-0.
The Rockets have entered the NBA’s bubble and knocked off two playoff teams. The Mavericks and the Bucks have both fallen to the Rockets’ sword. The Blazers beat up on the Grizzlies, and then dropped one to Boston in their first two.
There are no new injuries to report for either team headed into this matchup. The Blazers are still without Trevor Ariza and Rodney Hood, while the Rockets will be without Eric Gordon for a couple of weeks. Tip-off is set for 8:00 ET on Tuesday night.
Shoot Your Shot
The Rockets set an NBA record for the most three pointers attempted in a regulation game against the Bucks. It seemed the only way to counteract the Bucks ability to score at will in the paint. It did just that. As the Rockets were dominated inside, they punished the Bucks from the outside.
Russell Westbrook led the way against the Bucks on Sunday, but Harden and Westbrook have enjoyed switching roles all season, so it could be either one leading the way on Tuesday. The duo combined for over 60 points and 14 assists per game. Injury is the only thing that will slow these two down.
Battle of the Guards
There are exactly zero teams in the league that have the guard talent that Houston does, but if you were to compare a duo, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum might be the best contenders they have. They average over 50 points and 12 assists combined.
The outcome of the Blazers season hinders more on the big play of Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside. They combine for nearly 25 boards per game and Nurkic averages 24 points per game. If they want to outplay the Rockets, it’s Whiteside and Nurkic that have to have the biggest games.
Look for Houston to come out and set the tone early in this one. They’ll set the pace and throw up a dozen threes before the Blazers even get their bearings. I wouldn’t look for another record setting night from Houston, but as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
BetOnline has the Rockets favored by -4 headed into the matchup, with the game total set at 242.5. The sportsbooks made this one easy for you, take the Rockets -4 and the under. 242.5 is a ton of points for even the Rockets. Rockets -4. Good luck.