We like to mix it up around here from time to time. Usually in this spot you'd find the preview of tonight's game pitting the Portland Trail Blazers against the Houston Rockets in the Rose Garden at 7:00 p.m., televised on CSNNW.
Well, here's what you need to know about the Rockets. They're 4-4 with all four wins coming against really bad NBA teams and 3 of 4 losses coming to really good ones. The Blazers are the lone variable in that loss category. The Blazers will also have to decide tonight whether they have the moxie and energy to play like a really good team and win or whether they're going to play like a really bad team and get beaten. Defense will be a key. The Rockets are barely scoring in losses...well, nobody besides James Harden anyway. Handle Harden ("handling" meaning "holding to 25 or less") and you probably win this game. Make Houston shoot honest shots and you probably win even if you don't handle Harden. Their shooting percentage is terrible. But if you let them free for easy shots they've got enough firepower to win. Defend, rebound, and this game belongs to the Blazers. Get lax and Houston gets a great chance at a revenge win.
In the preview you'd also see the link to the Jersey Contest Form for this game and the tickets link that says "Portland Trail Blazer tickets for all upcoming games are available from Blazer's Edge sponsor TiqIQ." and the link to The Dream Shake. So there you go.
Now onward to the different part. Instead of spending a couple hours on a more extended preview we're going to open this thread for a live chat about the Blazers, the NBA, and life in general. We haven't done this in a while and I haven't had time to do official mailbags, so this seems like a fine time to do it. Just about any question is fair game. I'll be here live until around 11:00 p.m. Pacific and check in throughout the day on Friday so fire away with your burning questions or comments about the league, the Blazers, or anything else you're curious about. I'll answer and other folks can chime in too!