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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets Preview

Some Friday night fun.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (27-45) vs Houston Rockets (18-55)

The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Houston Rockets at the Moda Center for the second game of a five game home stand. The Portland Trail Blazers are coming off a loss to start the home stand against the San Antonio Spurs. The Rockets are in the second game of a short three game road trip as they come off a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in their opening contest.

Friday, March 25- 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports NW, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Nassir Little (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Eric Bledsoe (out), Didi Louzada (out), Joe Ingles (out), Anfernee Simons (out), Josh Hart (day-to-day), Justise Winslow (day-to-day)
Rockets Injuries: John Wall (out), Usman Garuba (out), Trevelin Queen (out)
SBN Affiliate: The Dream Shake
Odds: Portland +3.5, U/O 234

What To Watch For

  • Speed of the game. Portland is slightly above average in pace, sitting at 14th in the league. However, the young Rockets lead the league in that stat and like to fly up and down the court. The Rockets like to play fast and use their youth to their advantage in an attempt to force opponents to play at their speed rather than slow down. The Blazers will have to either slow the Rockets down and force them to make plays in the half court, or try to beat the Rockets at their own game.
  • Three point shooting. Both the Rockets and the Blazers like to shoot the three ball, with both in the top ten in three point attempts per game. However, both teams seem to struggle with actually making the threes they take. The Blazers rank 20th in that stat, with the Rockets not far behind at 21st. If either team can catch fire from behind the arc or capitalize on the poor shooting of their opponent, they could find themselves in a great position to get a victory.
  • Keep the ball moving. Both the Blazers and Rockets have found themselves in the bottom ten in assists per game this season, ranking 26th and 22nd respectively. However, both teams also find themselves near the bottom of the league in allowing the most assists per game. Which way of playing wins out — not keeping the ball moving or not being able to stop the other team from racking up assists — will serve as an interesting storyline in a game populated by young players looking to build chemistry with teammates.

What Others Are Saying

Zach Allen of The Dream Shake talks about veteran leader Dennis Schroder taking Jalen Green under his wing.

Schroder has done a great job of being a veteran mentor to the younger players on the team. He has taken Jalen Green underneath his wing by telling the young star to be aggressive. Schroder sees the talent in each of the young Rockets wants to push them to higher expectations.

He’ll pull Green aside for casual conversations about positioning on the court and how he can score at better angles. Schroder wants Green to always attack opposing team’s defenses, as he sees star potential. Since the All-Star break, Green has averaged 15.6 points per game with shooting splits of 41.1/32.0/80.0 percent. Green is playing with spark inside his step and isn’t second guessing himself on offense. Schroder’s IQ will help Green see the court more, which will slow his thinking process down.

The Dream Shake’s Lachard Binkley talks about how Josh Christopher would benefit from appearing in Summer League this upcoming off-season.

It started slow for Christopher, but after a short stint with the Vipers, Christopher has become a constant in the Rockets rotation. Christopher has played 15-20 minutes a game the last 50-plus games.

Christopher has had some great games with the Rockets. He scored 21 points and went 8-13 from the field in the Rocket’s win over the Lakers. But of course, as with any rookie, there are ups and downs. In Christopher’s last three games, he is shooting 4-17 from the field. Even with the increased playing time during the year, Christopher would benefit from continuing to play throughout the summer. He could be the focal point of the offense with more playing time.

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