2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #5
#5 Portland Trail Blazers at #4 Houston Rockets
Trail Blazers Lead Best of Seven Series 3-1
Toyota Center – Houston, Texas
Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Houston -5
Current Line: Houston -5
Opening Total: 214 1/2
Current Total: 214
Opening Money Line: Rockets -245 / Blazers +205
Current Money Line: Rockets -230 / Blazers +192
Every game in the Western Conference quarterfinal series between the #4 Houston Rockets and #5 Portland Trail Blazers has been decided by seven points or less, and three of the four games have gone into overtime. Still the Houston Rockets find themselves on the brink of elimination as they have come up short in 3 of the first 4 games in the series. Houston returns home for game five looking to extend the series Wednesday night.
Portland won game one in Houston 122-120 in overtime. The Trail Blazers would also take game two 122-115. Houston won game three in Portland 121-116 in overtime. The Blazers took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 123-120 overtime win Sunday night in Portland. Portland looks to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since they went to the 2000 Western Conference Finals.
In game four Sunday, Houston took a 61-51 lead into halftime. Portland would rally in the fourth quarter. The Blazers took a 105-104 lead with 18.9 seconds left in the fourth on a Mo Williams three pointer. Houston failed to score on their next possession. Portland forward Dorell Wright made one of two free throws with 8.3 seconds left to make it 106-104. Houston center Dwight Howard dunked on a feed from James Harden with 3.6 seconds to tie the game. Williams missed a 3 pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Portland took a 117-110 lead. Houston would pull within 119-117. Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard made two free throws to make it 121-117 with 17 seconds left. After an empty Houston possession, Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge missed two free throws. Houston rookie guard Troy Daniels made three free throws after being fouled on a three point shot. Williams made two free throws to put Portland up 123-120. Houston didn’t get off a shot at the buzzer.
Aldridge scored 29 points to lead the Blazers, and also added 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 4 blocks. Portland forward Nicolas Batum had 25 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Lillard had 23 points and 8 assists. Harden led the Rockets with 28 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Forward Chandler Parsons had 26 points and 8 rebounds. Howard had 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Portland is coached by Terry Stotts. The Trail Blazers have won 12 of their last 14 games. Portland is 47-39 ATS this season and the total is 50-35-1 this season.
Portland is outscoring teams 107-103 this season. The Trail Blazers are #4 in scoring and #22 in points allowed. Portland is shooting 45% from the field and 37.2% from 3 point range. The Blazers are #10 in 3 point shooting. Portland leads the league in free throw shooting at 81.5% from the line. Opponents are shooting 45.1% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. The Blazers average 46.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.5 per game. Portland leads the league in rebounding but is #22 in rebounds allowed. The Blazers average 23.1 assists, 13.8 turnovers, 5.5 steals, and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.4 assists, 12.1 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.
Forward LaMarcus Aldridge averages 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1 block per game. Point guard Damian Lillard averages 20.7 points, 5.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. Guard Wesley Matthews averages 16.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Forward Nicolas Batum averages 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. Center Robin Lopez averages 11 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Mo Williams, Dorrell Wright, Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, and Joel Freeland will also get significant minutes.
Houston is coached by Kevin McHale. The Rockets have struggled down the stretch losing 6 of their last 9 games. The Rockets are 41-43-2 ATS and the total is 48-36-2 this season.
Houston is outscoring teams 108-103 this season. The Rockets are #2 in scoring and #23 in points allowed. Houston is shooting 47.2% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. The Rockets are #5 in field goal percentage. Houston is #28 of 30 teams in free throw shooting at 71.2% from the line. Opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. Houston is 9th or better in both categories. The Rockets average 45.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 41.7 per game. The Rockets are #4 in rebounds and #8 in rebounds allowed. Houston averages 21.4 assists, 16.3 turnovers, 7.7 steals and 5.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 22.2 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 8.6 steals and 5.6 blocks per game.
Guard James Harden averages 25.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Center Dwight Howard averages 18.3 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. He returned last week after missing 8 games with an ankle injury. Forward Chandler Parsons averages 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Point guard Jeremy Lin averages 12.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He is probable with an illness. Forward Terrance Jones averages 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Patrick Beverley also returned to to the line-up after missing extended time with a torn meniscus that didn’t require surgery. He banged the knee in game one but did return, and is probable Wednesday. He averages 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Omri Casspi, Jordan Hamilton, Francisco Garcia, Omer Asik, and Donatas Motiejunas will also get minutes in the rotation.
Portland is 6-0 ATS in road games, 5-0 against teams with winning home records, 8-3 in Wednesday games, 2-7 on 2 days rest, and 2-9-1 in first round playoff games. The road team has covered the last 5 games in this series. The underdog is 15-5-1 ATS in this series recently.
Houston is 2-5 ATS against Northwest Division teams, 1-4 after a straight up loss, at home, and after a cover, and 0-4 in Wednesday games. The over is 16-5 in this series recently including 5-0 in Houston.
This series could easily be 2-2, or Houston could even be up 3-1. Every game has been a toss-up. These teams finished with identical records during the regular season, and are evenly matched. I think Houston finds a way to extend the series and send it back to Portland for game six Friday night.