Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets: Playoffs Preview / Prediction | Respect the Crown | Sports Unbiased

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets: Playoffs Preview / Prediction

Image Courtesy of the Portland Trail Blazers (facebook)

Image Courtesy of the Portland Trail Blazers (facebook)

The Houston Rockets have clinched the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and will enjoy home court advantage throughout the first round of the playoffs. Both teams finished the regular season with a 54-28 record, but the Rockets own the regular season match-up with a 3-1 edge over the Blazers. The Rockets are looking to improve after an early first round exit during the 2013 NBA playoffs while the Portland Trail Blazers are celebrating their first playoffs appearance since 2011. Also, the Trail Blazers have not advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 2000.  Jr. Williams and myself have come together to deliver our predictions for the Rockets versus Trail Blazers series.

Rockets versus Trail Blazers Playoffs Schedule

April
Opponent
Time
Local TV
Nat TV
Radio
Sun 20vs Portland, Playoffs:
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
8:30 PMYESTNTKBME
Mon 21vs Portland, Playoffs:
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
8:30 PMYESTNTKBME
Fri 25@ Portland Playoffs
Moda Center, Portland, OR
9:30 PMYESESPNKTRH 740 AM
Sun 27@ Portland Playoffs
Moda Center, Portland, OR
8:30 PMYESTNTKBME
Web 30vs Portland, Playoffs:
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
TBDKTRH 740 AM
Fri 2@ Portland Playoffs
Moda Center, Portland, OR
TBDKTRH 740 AM
Sun 4vs Portland, Playoffs:
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
TBDKBME

Who are the key players on both teams?

 

Arnold Glass:  The key players for the Rockets are shooting guard James Harden, center Dwight Howard and point guard Patrick Beverley. The Trail Blazers key players are point guard Damian Lillard and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

Jr. Williams:  I agree, James Harden and Dwight will be key for the Rockets. Harden is important because of his offense and ability to penetrate to the basket and Howard makes a huge difference for the Rockets defensively.  LaMarcus Aldridge is the most important player for the Trail Blazers, if he struggles, his team will have serious issues keeping up with the Rockets.  

Keys to winning the series

 

TrailblazersArnold Glass: The Trail Blazers have to produce better on defense to slow down Harden (one of the top scorers in the league), in addition to Howard, and shooting forward Chandler Parsons. Houston have to utilize the defensive skills of Beverly to take away Lillards offense, this will put a lot of pressure on Aldridge to carry the offensive load and that might be too much for him.

Jr. Williams:  Defensively, the Rockets are the better team when Dwight Howard is on the court, they are also a great team when running in transition. If the Rockets can spread the floor and knock down three-point shots, this series will belong to them.

RocketsThe Portland Trail Blazers have to chase the Rockets away from the three-point line, feed the ball to Aldridge, and force Dwight Howard to commit early fouls. This could be an easy scoring series for Damian Lillard, but defensively he could find himself in a miss-match against James Harden.  Ultimately, this series will come down to a scoring duel between the two teams.

Series Prediction

 

Arnold Glass: This will be a close series. There has to be a star player to rise up and have an extraordinary game in order for their team to win. I will put my money on Harden to be that player. The Rockets in 7.

Jr. Williams: I agree, both teams like to score and have the youth to match. This series will be a huge test for both teams, but I think the Rockets are a better team with Dwight Howard in the line-up. If Howard is less than 90 percent healthy, the Trail Blazers will win the series in 7 games, but I’ll take the Rockets 4-3. 

Arnold Glass II

About the Author: Arnold Glass II

A hard-working Chicagoan who loves to talk and write about sports. Favorite teams are the Bulls, White Sox, Broncos, and Bears. Main sports of interest are the NBA and NFL but will discuss MLB and NCAA football/basketball. Co-founder of Get Witted Sports and former AFC West writer for Beyond the Snap website. Let's sit down and talk sports.