Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trailblazers – Game 2

Houston Rockets +6 at Portland Trailblazers -6 O/U 184 10 PM ET Tuesday April 21, 2009 on NBA TV
by Jason Green of Predictem.com

Houston leads best of 7 series 1-0

The Rockets laid a beat down on the Blazers in game 1 of this series and tonight the Blazers need to win or they will be heading the Lone Star State down 0-2. The Rockets led by as many as 31 points in the game and the Blazers simply did not have an answer for Yao Ming, who was 9-9 from the floor going for 24 points.

The Blazers’ offense was lethargic in game 1, as they only had 2 players score in double figures. It also did not help that the Blazers hit only 62.5% of their free throws, as opposed to 85.7% by the Rockets. The Blazers need to bounce back from the big loss, which was the biggest loss margin of the season for them, and play better on both ends of the floor. If the Blazers lose tonight it is likely that they will lose the series.

This season the Blazers were 34-7 at home and the Rockets were 20-21 in away games.

Hoops bookies have the Blazers as 6-point favorites in this game with a total around 184. The Blazers are posted at -220 as home favorites and the Rockets are posted at +180 as road dogs.

In game 1 the Rockets crushed the Blazers 108-81. In that game the Blazers had their 7 game winning streak and 6 game home winning streak snapped. The High scorer for the Rockets in game 1 was Aaron Brooks going for 27 points on 10/17 shooting, including going 5/8 from 3-point land. For the game the Rockets shot lights out going 38/65 from the field for a scorching FG% of 58.5%. The high scorer for the Blazers in game 1 was Brandon Roy going for 21 points on 10/23 shooting. For the game the Blazers were not shooting well, as they went 35/84 from the field for a FG% of 41.7%.

This season Portland ranked 14th in scoring (99.4 ppg) and the Rockets ranked 17th (098.4 ppg). On defense the Blazers ranked 4th in points allowed (94.1 ppg) and the Rockets ranked 7th (94.4 ppg). In game 1 the Blazers allowed the Rockets to score 14 more points then their average throughout the regular season. The Blazers were the best team in the league this season in terms of rebounding differential at +5.4 rpg and the Rockets were also solid on the boards at +3.1 rpg.

This season the Blazers were 46-36 ATS and the Rockets were 40-41-1. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Blazers were 38/44 and the Rockets were 40-41-1.

On the injury front C Greg Oden is day-to-day for the Blazers while the Rockets are not reporting any significant injuries.

The Blazers are the youngest team in the playoffs and they need to shake off their jitters or this may be a short series.

The Blazers have to play better D, or really any D, on Yao Ming, who was a perfect 9/9 from the floor and 6/6 from the free throw line. He scored all of his points in the first half and he did not even play in the 4th quarter. The Blazers tried to play behind him, but Ming hit every jumper, so Portland may have to change their tactics.

Even though the stats say that the Blazers were a better defensive team they were out rebounded (44-30), and had less steals (5-4) in game 1. If the Blazers are to win game 2 tonight they will have to hit the boards harder.

LeMarcus Aldridge needs to play better after only going for 7 points on 3/12 shooting in game 1. He needs to help on the glass to, as he only had 3 boards in the game.

The Rockets played great on offense, as they had 4 of 5 starters score in double figures. Ron Artest went for 17 points and Luis Scola went for 19 points and grabbed 8 boards.

Portland shot an anemic 9.1% from beyond the 3-point arc on 1/11 shooting and they either need to attack the rim more and shelve their long bombs or start draining the long ball.

For the Blazers it’s easy. They have to play better D and find their offensive rhythm. If the Rockets play like they did in game 1 they will win game 2 easily.

Jason’s Pick: The previous result was downright startling considering the Blazers had not only been winning at home, but BLOWING TEAMS OUT. I think they get back on track tonight and win by double digits.