Injury-shredded Portland Trail Blazers are traveling to Houston to meet the Rockets at the Toyota Center. The two sides are direct playoff contenders, and their head-to-head matchups might have great significance at the end of the season.
Portland Trail Blazers
No CJ McCollum and no Jusuf Nurkic, puts additional pressure on Damian Lillard and Enes Kanter, as well as all the other players in the rotation. And it seems that the Trail Blazers crew still didn’t adapt to playing without these two starters.
Lineup note: Blazers will start Lillard, Trent Jr., Jones Jr., Anthony, Kanter on Monday.
— FantasyLabs NBA (@FantasyLabsNBA) January 26, 2021
But there are even more problems. Robert Covington, Zach Collins, Rodney Hood all these guys weren’t playing in recent matches, and probably won’t against the Rockets. Now, this is one more issue for Terry Stotts, who had just 8 players at his disposal in his last match.
They defeated New York minimally 116-113, before losing at home against OKC Thunder, 125-122. Kanter struggles to find himself offensively, as he had just 21 points in those two matches, fewer than rebounds – 31.
The Houston Rockets are looking completely different now than they had a few weeks ago. There is no time for all the new faces to adjust to the current circumstances, but they need to react fast and start winning. Their team is under .500, having seven wins and nine losses, which puts them in a bad place once talking about the playoffs.
Oladipo to beat the shot clock 😳 pic.twitter.com/yEYQracCvv
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 27, 2021
The one guy who immediately began playing well since his arrival is Victor Oladipo, who posted 21.8 points per game since coming, and 4.8 assists with 4.3 boards. He and John Wall will undoubtedly make a fantastic backcourt duo, able to cause problems against any team in the league.
What also makes the home-team fans happy is the awakening of the former NBA All-Star, DeMarcus Cousins, who posted double-doubles in the previous two matches against the Mavs and the Wizards, combining for 47 points and 28 boards.
The Trail Blazers are in serious trouble, and if there isn’t a better moment for Houston to utilize that and win. Remember, this is a match between two direct rivals for the playoffs, and the victory here would be worth double. Expect some unreal numbers from Lillard, who will have to keep pounding hard throughout 48 minutes, but once talking about the final result, this should be a routine victory for the Rockets.