Damian Lillard and th short-handed Blazers battle the Houston Rockets Thursday night. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- Short-handed Trail Blazers in Houston to take on the Rockets
- Houston has won three in a row, while Portland has dropped three of five
- Check the odds, analysis and betting preview below
For the Houston Rockets, they’ve started to find success via roster subtraction. For the Portland Trail Blazers, their opponent Thursday night, roster subtraction could see them fading into the depths of the bottom of the West playoff picture — a place they don’t want to revisit in consecutive seasons.
The two teams meet Thursday night trending in opposite directions. The Rockets will be seeking their fourth straight win, while Portland has dropped three of their last five. The home team is favored by 2.5-points in this one.
Trail Blazers vs Rockets Odds
|Portland Trail Blazers||+2.5 (-110)||+118||N/A|
|Houston Rockets||-2.5 (-110)||-138||N/A|
Odds from FanDuel taken January 27. Tip-off is Thursday at 7:30pm ET
The Blazers currently sit fifth in the West at 9-7, while the Rockets are at 7-9, down in 11th in the conference.
Rockets Can Compete
With that dark James Harden cloud looming over the franchise now gone, the Rockets have gotten back to the business of basketball, and they’ve looked good doing so. On top of their ex-star player fiasco, the team was dealing with a myriad of COVID-19 and injury issues.
Vintage John Wall. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/O7Jy12efRV
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 27, 2021
Now healthy, they’ve got the identity of a veteran-laden club that looks above average at every position. John Wall looks to be back to his explosive self, including last time out in a whipping of the Wizards, his former franchise. He had 24 points and five dimes.
DeMarcus Cousins in 3 starts this season
He’s far from done 😤 pic.twitter.com/Nhyi5xs6ql
— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) January 27, 2021
Demarcus Cousins appears to be getting back to his former dominating self. He had 19 points, 11 boards and five steals against Washington, a game after going for 28 points, 17 boards and five dimes in a win over the Mavericks. Victor Oladipo, one of the return pieces in the Harden mega-deal, has averaged 24.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in four games.
Victor Oladipo made his HOME debut tonight for the @HoustonRockets @VicOladipo – 22 PTS / 6 AST / 5 REB / 3 STL pic.twitter.com/QE1xkcxnRD
— AT&T SportsNet SW (@ATTSportsNetSW) January 21, 2021
Holdover Eric Gordon has rediscovered his stroke, leading the team in scoring two of the last three contests and putting up 18 a night on the year. The only bad news is prized free agent Christian Wood, averaging 23.5 points and 10.8 boards on 52.8% shooting, will miss his fourth straight game with an ankle injury.
Can Dame Hold The Fort?
The Blazers were lauded for an offseason that saw them add depth and talent at almost every position. On paper, they looked like a top-4 West team, at minimum. Now? They could be down three starters as they embark on a 5-game road trip.
No excuses.#RipCity pic.twitter.com/jzl8gAXxcd
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 26, 2021
Portland will be without big man Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) and CJ McCollum (left foot), while forward Robert Covington is still day-to-day after suffering a concussion. Zach Collins, who just can’t seem to get healthy, is out with an ankle injury, and Rodney Hood is day-to-day with a thigh ailment.
Much of the onus will be on Damian Lillard to keep things afloat during this stretch. He’s the NBA’s third-leading scorer at 28.7 points a game, while also adding seven dimes. The addition of Enes Kanter has been huge inside, as the big man is averaging 10.1 points and 10.1 rebounds.
O Damian Lillard. 🔥pic.twitter.com/3KpahG3nH4
— NBA do Povo 🏀🇧🇷 (@NBAdoPovo) January 25, 2021
Portland is hoping they can get Carmelo Anthony going. He’s averaging just over 12 points a game, but while he’s shooting 38.2% from three-point range, he’s only shooting 39.1% from the field.
In their last five games, the Blazers are 25th in scoring, putting up just 108 points a game, and they’ve been hemorrhaging defensively, surrendering over 116 points a night in that span, which ranks 22nd in the league. On the other end of the spectrum, the Rockets are a top-10 unit in both scoring and scoring defense over their last five games.
What’s The Best Bet?
If Houston wants to make a run, this game might be the only blip on the radar. After Portland, they’ve got New Orleans and a two-game set with OKC — a real chance at a seven-game win streak. The Blazers need this one too. After Houston, they travel to Chicago, then have to deal with the Bucks and 76ers.
I like the Rockets in this spot. They’re playing really well right now, and they can attack from a variety of spots up and down the roster. Lillard will get his, but it won’t be enough.
The pick: Rockets -2.5 (-110)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.