Mar 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) and guard Patrick Beverley (2) reacts to a play during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Beverley Injury Revives Homecourt Hopes for Portland


 

The Houston Rockets are missing two key players right now: Patrick Beverley and Dwight Howard. While Beverley is just a second year guard playing for a figure ending with ‘K’ and not ‘M,’ his absence is more damaging. The Rockets have no real Plan B for defending the backcourt. Jeremy Lin is a passable defender in a sense that sandpaper is a passable bath tissue, and James Harden opts to save his energy for offense any time an aggressor breaches 5mph. That is why the Rockets have lost their last two games, allowing Chris Paul & Jamal Crawford to combine for 52 on Saturday, and allowing Joe Johnson & Shaun Livingston to combine for 49 just last night.

The Portland Trail Blazers (having won four straight) are now just 1.5 games behind the Rockets for the fourth spot in the Western Conference. If they can overtake the position, they will have earned homecourt advantage in the upcoming playoffs. This would be a huge development for the Trail Blazers who have lost only 9 games at home this season. They’ll need every advantage they can get, as the Rockets are easily their worst matchup and most probable opponent in the first round.

While Beverley (meniscus) is likely to return this year, it is unlikely that he will be back during the regular season. The Rockets have 9 games remaining on their schedule (4 home, 5 away) in which to stumble for the Trail Blazers’ benefit. Remember, they are also without Howard (ankle) for the time being, so their chances of victory are slimmer than their reputation would indicate. Here is how it all breaks down for them:

April 2nd @ Toronto Raptors (42-32)
April 4th vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (54-19)
April 6th vs. Denver Nuggets (32-42)
April 8th @ Los Angeles Lakers (25-49)
April 9th @ Denver Nuggets (32-42)
April 11th @ Minnesota Timberwolves (36-37)
April 12th vs. New Orleans Pelicans (32-42)
April 14th vs. San Antonio Spurs (58-16)
April 16th @ New Orleans Pelicans (32-42)

They have three truly difficult games left (Raptors, Thunder, Spurs), five soft ones that are still very losable (Nuggets x2, Timberwolves, Pelicans x2), and one that they should win pretty handily (Lakers). There is a good chance that Beverley will be absent for most, if not all, of them. Howard’s availability, on the other hand, remains very much up in the air. He has already been ruled out of tonight’s matchup with the Raptors after having his ankle drained a second time, and there has been no word regarding a return date. Every Houston defeat is a Portland victory.

The Trail Blazers have only 6 games remaining (5 home, 1 away):

April 4th vs. Phoenix Suns (44-30)
April 6th vs. New Orleans Pelicans (32-42)
April 9th vs. Sacramento Kings (26-48)
April 11th @ Utah Jazz (23-52)
April 13th vs. Golden State (46-28)
April 16th vs. Los Angeles Clippers (53-22)

They have two truly difficult games (Warriors, Clippers), both of which are at home, two soft ones that are still very losable (Suns, Pelicans), both at home again, and two that they should win pretty handily (Kings, Jazz). In order for the Trail Blazers to pass the Rockets for the fourth seed, they have to win at least two games that the Rockets lose and then hold even. Given the injury situation and the strength of schedule discrepancies, this is entirely possible, but it will come right down to the wire. Every game matters for both teams now.

 

 

Tags: Dwight Howard Nba Playoffs Patrick Beverley Portland Trail Blazers

  • Ray B

    LMMFBAO!!!

  • Dez

    The media love affair with Beverly is mind boggling. He is a bum. D League material and a clumsy, knee jerk shooter. Gets into fights, may as well join MMA, and only knows how to push or bully players. He has many enemies in the league and not many friends. Can hit an outside 3 here and there, but you guys are fooling yourselves. hes a toy.

  • Dan Cohen

    Omg. Hope you know Parson guarded CP3 most of the time…and CP3 just lit up on him. (If CP3 lit up on lin, I won’t argue with you because I like facts. But the fact is lin was not guarding CP3 and did quite a good job defending his own opp). Plus, Clipper will just knock rockets azz whether or not those players are healty. Heck, Clippers won the last 3 times, when all players are in, WITH pb defending cp3 and cp3 made pb foul out and torched him. So I doubt pb will make a difference. Pb is a good one on one perimeter defender. But he will get torch once pnr sets in. He is, in my mind, overrated defensively.. I made that decision even on the 1st time I saw him play. He is a good rebounder, but defensively..overrated (having energy which he does, does not mean he is a great defensive player.. lmao)

    So do you watch basketball games before you publish you papers or just brainwash by the houston media? Might be better you really watch games before you embarrass yourself as a sports writer. Thank you very much. I’m being nice here with my comments.

    • David MacKay

      I don’t usually respond to comments like these, but we’ll use this as an opportunity to educate. At various times throughout the game, Chris Paul was guarded by James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin, Terrence Jones, and even Donatas Motiejunas because the Rockets had no answer whatsoever. Think for a moment about why they had Lin switch off. It is, as you stated, because Paul torches him. As for the player you so astutely determined would not make a difference because he is overrated defensively, he has never allowed Paul to reach 20 points in a game. Not this year, not last year. In fact, Patrick Beverley allows Paul to score only 14.25 points on average, including (whadya know?) just 14 points in both meetings this season (5/13 shooting both times). I’m curious how you came to the conclusion that Beverley was overrated the first time you saw him play. Your analytical methods must be paramount.

      In short, yes I watch games before I write about them, no I am not brainwashed by the Houston media, and, yes, I’m being very nice here with my comments. Thank you very much, Dan Cohen.

  • didyouwatchthegame

    Normally the GB column is the way to go but since Portland has played 2
    games more than Houston (76 vs 78) the L column determines how many
    games they’re behind Houston and right now that number is 3.