Team Records: Portland (1-1) at Houston (2-0)
Game Info: 5 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM (moved due to Beaver football)
Vegas Line: Houston -4.5.
Refs: Dan Crawford, Mark Ayotte, Derrick Collins.
The Skinny: The Blazers look to rebound from a road loss to the Thunder last night as they travel to face one of the NBA’s early surprises in Houston. The Rockets have been impressive in their first two games, especially new Rockets SG James Harden, who has simply been on fire early this year, dropping 37 and 45 points in his first two games. Houston will look to keep on a roll tonight in their home opener.
Last Season: Houston swept the season series 3-0.
Projected Rockets Lineup:
PF: Patrick Patterson (Kentucky, 3rd season) – 9 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 APG
SF: Chandler Parsons (Florida, 2nd season) – 8.5 PPG, 6 RPG, 6 APG
C: Omer Asik (Turkey, 3rd season) – 6 PPG, 14 RPG, .5 APG
SG: James Harden (Arizona State, 4th season) – 41 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 7 APG
PG: Jeremy Lin (Harvard, 3rd season) – 16.5 PPG, 7 RPG, 7.5 APG
Player to Watch: James Harden (pictured at right) – The NBA world was shocked last weekend when James Harden was shipped from OKC to Houston. Apparently he’s angry about it and so far he’s taken his anger out of his opponents. Harden has been nearly unstoppable in Houston’s two games this year, playing with an efficiency that, although unsustainable, is amazing to watch. Harden is a skilled player who sees the floor well and can hit a spot up three time and time again. He has a tendency to turn the ball over and his defense is a work in progress but as long as he’s scoring as much as he is right now, no one has much right to complain about that.
Did You Know?: Omer Asik had 19 rebounds and 0 points Friday, that is the most rebounds without scoring any points in Rockets team history.
Song of the Day: “America, Fuck Yeah” from Team America: World Police-In honor of the upcoming elections and to remind you all to go vote! Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliott Williams (Achillies), Probable-PG Ronnie Price (Ankle).
Much has changed since the last time the Blazers and Rockets last played each other. The Rockets finally blew it up after years of hovering around .500 but missing the playoffs, which might qualify as the worst kind of NBA hell. Yet, their plans for a slow rebuild were thrown into chaos last Saturday when they landed James Harden. As a result, its hard to categorize the Rockets yet. They are, probably, still not a playoff team but if Harden keeps playing this well, who knows? Their style so far this year has been to rely mainly on Harden and Lin to set things up on offense and Asik to act as the primary interior defender/rebounder. Its work for them so far but they are only two games into a long season.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They make someone other than Harden beat them. Harden usually kicks Portland’s ass and the way he’s going right now, he probably will again. However, if they can make someone other than Harden be the primary scorer for Houston, they will probably move back above .500 Saturday.
Houston wins if: They score at least 100 points. The Rockets play good enough defense that 100 points ought to do it for them, and they are certainly capable of doing so and opening their season 3-0.