|Western Conference - Round 1 - Best of 7 - Game 2 - POR Leads 1-0|
|Last 5 Games||5-0||+4.8||3-2||4-1||112.4||53.8||46.0%||58.8||107.8||50.0||43.8%||54.0|
|Team Stats (All Games)||106.9||52.8||39-87||44.9%||9-25||37.1%||19-24||81.3%||54||13||23||19||6||13||5|
|vs opponents surrendering||101.3||50.6||38-83||45.4%||8-22||35.9%||18-24||75.6%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Road Games)||106.2||52.2||38-87||44.1%||10-26||37.6%||20-25||80.4%||54||12||22||21||6||13||5|
|Stats Against (All Games)||103.0||51.7||40-88||45.0%||7-19||35.2%||17-22||76.4%||52||12||20||21||8||12||4|
|vs opponents averaging||101.6||50.9||38-83||45.6%||8-22||36.0%||18-24||75.4%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||104.5||53.0||40-88||45.4%||6-18||34.9%||19-25||75.8%||53||12||20||20||7||11||4|
|Last 5 Games||2-3||-3.6||1-4||3-2||109.0||51.6||43.7%||57.6||108.2||52.4||45.3%||55.8|
|Team Stats (All Games)||107.8||54.4||38-81||47.1%||9-27||35.5%||22-31||71.1%||55||11||21||21||8||15||6|
|vs opponents surrendering||101.3||50.6||38-83||45.5%||8-21||35.9%||18-24||75.5%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Home Games)||109.5||55.6||38-80||47.6%||10-27||35.5%||23-33||70.6%||57||12||21||20||8||16||6|
|Stats Against (All Games)||103.3||50.9||39-88||44.3%||8-23||35.3%||17-23||75.6%||51||12||22||24||9||13||6|
|vs opponents averaging||101.6||50.8||38-83||45.6%||8-21||36.1%||18-24||76.2%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||100.7||48.9||38-89||42.9%||8-24||35.1%||16-22||72.5%||51||13||21||25||9||14||5|
|Average power rating of opponents played: PORTLAND 96.4, HOUSTON 95.9|
|3/14/2014||@ NEW ORLEANS||111-103||W||-2||W||200.5||O||38-78||48.7%||47||16||41-86||47.7%||47||10|
|4/1/2014||@ LA LAKERS||124-112||W||-8.5||W||218||O||46-99||46.5%||60||10||41-92||44.6%||49||11|
|4/23/2014||@ HOUSTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/25/2014||HOUSTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/27/2014||HOUSTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/8/2014||@ LA LAKERS||145-130||W||-9||W||228||O||56-97||57.7%||64||14||44-95||46.3%||41||11|
|4/16/2014||@ NEW ORLEANS||100-105||L||3||L||209||U||35-81||43.2%||49||14||43-82||52.4%||51||8|
|4/23/2014||PORTLAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/25/2014||@ PORTLAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/27/2014||@ PORTLAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|PORTLAND: GUARDS: DAMIAN LILLARD is for real, an elite shooter and a natural running the pick-and-roll. Though we're a little worried about what will happen if pick-and-pop partner LaMarcus Aldridge is dealt sometime this season . . . WESLEY MATTHEWS will be battling for playing time with Portland loading up on wings . . . C.J. MCCOLLUM can play either guard spot, but primarily he's a scorer and a potentially elite shooter. He is, however, out a few months with a foot fracture. . . MO WILLIAMS will provide the Blazers with a veteran guard presence who is more than capable of lighting it up on any given night. He is, however, a major defensive liability'If he straightens out his jumper, WILL BARTON could end up being a solid second-unit player . . . EARL WATSON gives them a much more reliable back-up point guard than Ronnie Price was . . . Sharpshooter ALLEN CRABBE will likely find himself in the D-League early on. FORWARDS: LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE's name will be in trade rumors all season, but it won't affect his role as this team's No. 1 option . . . NICOLAS BATUM will continue to do a little bit of everything, playing point forward to allow Lillard to play off the ball at times, and serving as a dangerous three-point shooter . . . DORELL WRIGHT can lock opponents down when he wants to. He'll push Wesley Matthews for minutes . . . Portland will be the next team to try to squeeze production out of 2012 No. 5 pick THOMAS ROBINSON. After Sacramento and Houston both gave up on him almost immediately, Robinson in danger of falling off the NBA map . . . VICTOR CLAVER provides some energy as a second-unit bit player . . . JOEL FREELAND has six fouls to give. CENTERS: ROBIN LOPEZ will be a better fit alongside Aldridge than J.J. Hickson was. Lopez isn't skilled, but he can take some defensive responsibilities away from Aldridge . . . MEYERS LEONARD is, as expected, still a work in progress. He's enormous and there's some raw talent, but he too often looks lost.|
|HOUSTON: GUARDS: JAMES HARDEN is a franchise player, and as one of the league's elite pick-and-roll threats, he and Dwight Howard have the potential to be dominant . . . Trade rumors will continue to circle JEREMY LIN, who isn't an off-the-ball threat to fit alongside Harden. He is, however, clearly a starting-caliber point guard . . . PATRICK BEVERLEY really shined in back-up minutes last year, and he's part of the reason that Lin is expendable. He's strong defensively, and he proved capable of running the second unit. He'll be one of the league's top back-up PGs if Lin stays . . . Rookie combo guard ISAIAH CANAAN will be developed as a spot-up shooter . . . REGGIE WILLIAMS is a roster filler . . . AARON BROOKS is around as a reclamation project . . . RONNIE BREWER provides a much-needed athletic perimeter defender. FORWARDS: CHANDLER PARSONS is an elite role player. He entered the league with the reputation as a pure athlete, but it's his ability to knock down the corner three that's made him so valuable in Houston . . . GREG SMITH looks like another great find for the Rockets. He's an athletic banger who can allow Dwight Howard to roam a bit on defense . . . DONATAS MOTIEJUNAS showed flashes as a rookie, but the stretch four looks like a situational role player for the foreseeable future . . . FRANCISCO GARCIA will lend a veteran presence to the second unit . . . Versatile TERRENCE JONES could be in for more minutes as the Rockets look for the right role players . . . OMRI CASSPI might be getting his last chance at the NBA. CENTERS: DWIGHT HOWARD should be much happier in Houston, though the Rockets still have to convince him that he can dominate as a pick-and-roll player. He should make everyone forget about his season with the Lakers . . . The fact is OMER ASIK just doesn't fit alongside Howard. But if he stays somewhat happy in Houston, he could be a valuable second-unit player . . . MARCUS CAMBY has latched on to chase a ring.|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW (PORTLAND-HOUSTON) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Adds details; quotes. Should stand. With AP Photos.)
*Trail Blazers-Rockets Preview* ===============================
By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer
Portland At Houston, Game Two, 9:30 p.m. EDT
HOUSTON (AP) -- James Harden missed 20 shots, including two in the final seconds of Houston's Game 1 loss to Portland in overtime.
Now the key word for the Houston star entering Game 2 on Wednesday night is better; he must play better, and the Rockets must be better when it comes to their ball movement.
"I wasn't really driving and attacking and being aggressive like I needed to be," he said. "I think when I get into the attack mode everything else opens up, the assists come and the easy layups come and whatnot. So I've got to be more aggressive."
The Trail Blazers know they aren't going to keep Harden from shooting. He's averaging 16.5 attempts a game this season. But their plan is to make every shot he takes as difficult as possible.
"That's what he does and we just need to make them difficult," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "We need to contest them and do as good a job as possible. ... He's going to get his shots, but we've got to find him in transition, we've got to limit his attempts at the rim, do it without fouling, all of those things."
Harden still managed to score 27 points in the opener of the first-round series. That caught the attention of the Trail Blazers, and LaMarcus Aldridge said they have to make sure Harden doesn't "go off" against them in Game 2.
The question is how they will do that?
"Just try to stay close to him because he's very good in transition," Aldridge said. "He's very good at that pull-up 3, he's good at getting to the line, just trying to make all of his looks tough and don't give him any space."
Rockets coach Kevin McHale was quick to point out that the problems his team had on Sunday certainly weren't limited to Harden.
"It was just a lot of settling for shots," McHale said. "Just looking at their faces, they were almost all hyperventilating. They were all jacked up and juiced up to go and we didn't play very well."
Another big problem for the Rockets was their defense. Aldridge set a career high with a franchise playoff-record 46 points.
"We were really cognizant of trying to take the 3-point line away, probably too much so," McHale said. "We didn't dig, we didn't help. We didn't do a lot of things."
Houston has promised adjustments in Game 2 to deal with Aldridge. McHale was cagey when asked what he planned to do, but did say that the Rockets could double-team him more.
Dwight Howard is working to make sure the Rockets not only play better on Wednesday night, but that they also keep a good attitude. He's pointed out to his teammates that his Orlando team lost its first game in the postseason in 2009, and then went on to the NBA Finals.
"We lost a game we should have won but we've got a brand new game," Howard said. "The series is not over ... there's no need to put our heads down. Just stay together. We didn't let any negative thoughts get in our head. Don't let this one game dictate how we're going to play for the rest of the series."
Howard has known Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon for more than five years and has been working with him after practice this week. They also have been chatting about what the Rockets need to do to get back on track after the tough loss in Game 1.
"The Dream has been talking to me the last two days about just playing the game," Howard said. "When you think about winning so much that's when you're uptight and that's when you tend to mess up."
|Last Updated: 12/20/2014 1:52:00 AM EST|