Jan 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) signals after scoring a basket during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Trailblazers 126-113. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs 2014: Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers series preview


After adding Dwight Howard in the offseason, the Houston Rockets (54-28) were supposed to become contenders. Although they finished just fourth in the Western Conference, they are one of the few teams with two legitimate superstars and certainly look the part. The Portland Trail Blazers also have two superstars (or at least near superstars) in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard and they’ve rode those two to their first playoff berth since 2011.

Series Schedule:

Game 1 in Houston: Sunday, April 20, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 in Houston: Wednesday, April 23, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 in Portland, Ore.: Friday, April 25, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 in Portland: Sunday, April 27, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 5 in Houston (if necessary): Wednesday, April 30
Game 6 in Portland (if necessary): Friday, May 2
Game 7 in Houston (if necessary): Sunday, May 4

Season Series: Rockets won 3-1

Portland Trail Blazers Houston Rockets
Robin Lopez Dwight Howard
LaMarcus Aldridge Terrence Jones
Nicolas Batum Chandler Parsons
Wesley Matthews James Harden
Damian Lillard Patrick Beverley

 

Portland Trail Blazers  Houston Rockets
 Pace 97.48 98.81
 Offensive Rating 108.3 108.6
 Defensive Rating 104.7 103.1

 

This series has been set for a few days so these teams have certainly been preparing to square off for the last week or so. The Rockets are the more talented team so the entire key could be the health of Dwight Howard (ankle) and Patrick Beverley (knee). The Rockets need those two to be healthy if they want to make noise in the postseason this year.

These were the fourth and fifth best offensive teams in the league this year so expect a lot of fireworks.

Tags: Chandler Parsons Damian Lillard Dwight Howard Houston Rockets James Harden LaMarcus Aldridge NBA Playoffs 2014 Patrick Beverley Portland Trail Blazers Tracking