The Portland Trail Blazers head to Houston Wednesday night to face off with the Rockets, and shot-making will be the main factor in this one.
When it comes down to it, the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets are extremely similar teams. The offensive game plan and overall team makeup couldn’t be more aligned. They both built their teams around ball-dominant guards who love the isolation style offense.
The Trail Blazers are dead last in assists per game (19.7) and the Rockets rank 26th in the NBA with 21.6 in that same department. And, on top of that, Houston ranks dead last in passes per game (241.5) and Portland ranks just one notch ahead of them in that category (242.4).
This game will be played like a pickup game and that’s why the Trail Blazers have a chance. No team will outplay the other, it’ll just come down to who hits more shots. Neither team is going to play a masterpiece defensively as Portland ranks 24th in defensive efficiency and the Rockets rank 17th. The similarities between these two clubs continue to pile up, however, the Rockets are healthy and the Trail Blazers aren’t, and that’s where the disparity in the record comes from.
When James Harden shoots over 40 percent the Rockets are 16-3, but when he shoots under that mark, the team is just 10-10. So much depends on how efficient Harden is as he shot 5-for-19 from behind in their last game against the Grizzlies and to no surprise, they lost.
The Rockets are inconsistent and that’s where the Trail Blazers could capitalize. You never know which Rockets team is going to show up on any given night, and that’s the same for the Trail Blazers, leading to this game having so many potential outcomes and possibilities.
The Rockets have had big wins against teams like the Nuggets, Sixers, and Clippers, but have balanced their success with losses to the Warriors, Pistons, and Kings. The Trail Blazers are running on fumes, yet appear hungry and willing to push towards being in the playoffs.
I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again. The narrative of this game will be based around tough shot-making and I’m not sure how that could be disputed. Both sides love the step back, pick and roll, and iso offense, so, whoever can connect most efficiently on these shots will win finish the game on top.