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Friedman: Rockets Assistant Kelvin Sampson Breaks Down Blazers During Coach Kevin McHale's Absence

Houston Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson offers some thoughts on the Portland Trail Blazers after head coach Kevin McHale left the Rockets due to the passing of his mother.

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Jason Friedman of is one of the best writers you'll find on an NBA team site, and he's posted an extended breakdown of the Portland Trail Blazers by Houston Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson.

"(Damian) Lillard is an elite, elite point guard," he said. "(Wes) Matthews is just one of those guys that every coach would love to have on his team because he's tough, he brings it every night and he's shooting almost 48 percent from the 3-point line, and he plays with a chip on his shoulder."


"[Aldridge is] going to make a lot of shots from long 2s. You go into the game thinking, well, he's not going to beat us from those shots, but then you look back at their last five games, which I usually do, and he beats a lot of teams making long 2s. He's their go-to guy."


"It's their composite 3-point shots from Matthews, (Nic) Batum) and Lillard. There's a lot of teams that usually have one guy that doesn't shoot the 3 well or some teams even have two guys. Their starting perimeter - Lillard, Matthews and Batum - they shoot the 3 at a high, high level."

The full rundown is here.

Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle reports that Rockets head coach Kevin McHale left the team this week after his mother passed away, and that Sampson has taken over head coaching duties in his absence.

There is no word on when McHale will return or if he will travel with the Rockets on their upcoming West Coast road trip to Portland Thursday, Golden State Friday and Sacramento on Sunday.

Portland hosts Houston at the Moda Center on Thursday in a game that will be televised on TNT. The Rockets beat the Blazers, 116-101, in Portland back in early November.

PS Thanks to @lisapease for sending this along.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter