NBA Playoffs Game Two Betting Preview: #5 Portland Trail Blazers at #4 Houston Rockets

2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #2

#5 Portland Trail Blazers at #4 Houston Rockets
Trail Blazers Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Toyota Center – Houston, Texas
Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Houston -6
Current Line: Houston -6 1/2
Opening Total: 214 1/2
Current Total: 214 1/2
Opening Money Line: Rockets -270 / Blazers +225
Current Money Line: Rockets -300 / Blazers +250

Houston looks to rebound from an overtime loss in game one as they host Portland in game two of the Western Conference quarterfinals Wednesday night.
Houston looks to rebound from an overtime loss in game one as they host Portland in game two of the Western Conference quarterfinals Wednesday night.

The Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets were scheduled to be the last of the eight playoff series to get underway on Sunday night. The NBA certainly saved the best for last as Portland escaped with a 122-120 overtime victory on the road to steal home court in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The two two teams play game two Wednesday night in Houston before the series switches to Portland for games three and four starting Friday night.

In game One Sunday, Houston led 86-73 early in the fourth. Portland went on a 10-0 run to get back into the game. The Blazers tied it up at 98 with 2:46 left after Rockets’ center Dwight Howard missed four straight free throws. Houston took a 106-104 lead on two James Harden free throws with just seconds left. Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge tied it up with 2.9 seconds left on a tip-in. Harden missed a shot at the buzzer that would have won the game. The teams went into overtime tied at 106.

In overtime Aldridge fouled out with just over a minute left in the extra period. He had a monster game with 46 points and 18 rebounds. Portland took a one point lead with 44.5 seconds left. After Francisco Garcia and Howard each made one of two free throws, Houston took a 120-119 lead with 24 seconds left. Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard made two free throws to give Portland a 121-120 lead with 17 seconds left. Harden would miss a three pointer for Houston, and Joel Freeland made one of two free throws to make it 122-120 Portland. Harden missed a short jump shot at the buzzer to give Portland the two point win. Although Harden  scored 27 points, he only made 8 of 28 field goal attempts. Howard also scored 27 points and added 15 rebounds for the Rockets. Lillard scored 31 points and added 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Aldridge and Lillard were the first teammates to score at least 45 and 30 points in the same playoff game since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for the 1992 Chicago Bulls.

Portland is coached by Terry Stotts. The Trail Blazers have won 10 of their last 11 games including 6 straight. Portland is 45-38 ATS this season and the total is 47-35-1 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 4 of their last 6 games. The Rockets are 40-41-2 ATS and the total is 45-36-2 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 5-0 ATS in road games, and against teams with winning home records, 6-2 against teams with winning records, 7-3 in Wednesday games, 1-7-1 in first round playoff games, and 1-7 on two days rest. The underdog is 12-5-1 ATS in this series recently. The road team is 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 games in the series.

Houston is 2-5 when the opponent scores 100 points or more in the previous game, 3-9 against teams with winning records, 1-5 after a straight up loss, overall, against Western Conference teams, and after scoring 100 points or more, 1-4 after allowing 100 points or more, in Wednesday games, and when the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game, and 0-4 against Northwest Division teams. The last 8 games in this series have gone over the total including the last 4 in Houston.

These teams finished with identical records and Houston got home court only because they took 3 of 4 from Portland in the regular season. Still, these teams are very evenly matched, and i think this series has a good shot of going the full seven games. Harden admitted after game one that he needs to be more aggressive and that he settled for too many bad shots in game one. Aldridge and Lillard had huge games for Portland in Game One. I think all of the pressure is on Houston because they don’t want to go down 2-0 heading to the Pacific Northwest. I like the Rockets to tie the series at 1-1 tonight.

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