The Portland Trail Blazers host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night (Feb. 8) in the first game since the debacle against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 6. I wrote about how the NBA admitted that an official blew that game for the Blazers, calling goaltending on a play that would have won the game for Portland. Instead, Oklahoma City took the win in overtime, handing Portland just its second loss of the season. Now the Blazers can take it out on the Rockets.
The teams have already played once this season, a game that the Rockets won 107-105 back on Jan. 15. That game also went to overtime, with Kyle Lowry coming up huge for the Rockets as he went 13-for-26 from the field for 33 points. Kevin Martin added another 28 points and the Rockets held serve on their home court. Now the battle shifts to the Rose Garden, where the Blazers have posted an 11-2 record so far this year.
Jamal Crawford is likely the starting point guard again if Raymond Felton has to rest his sprained left foot a bit longer. That will make it tougher for the Blazers to keep up with the second unit of the Rockets this time around, but it's something that the team proved it could do against the Thunder. The real question is whether the Blazers can find consistent offense from someone other than LaMarcus Aldridge when the game is on the line. It would help a lot if Crawford, Nicolas Batum or Wesley Matthews had the confidence and momentum to start hitting shots.
The Blazers kept pace with the Rockets last time, so there is no reason to think that they cannot do it again. Marcus Camby missed the first meeting due to an early season injury, but he is now playing some of the best basketball of his time with the Blazers. If he can put up another big game against the Rockets on the defensive end of the floor it will give the Blazers plenty of opportunities to win it on the other end. The real key to this game is limiting Houston to one shot opportunity per possession and keeping them from grabbing offensive rebounds in the same manner that Oklahoma City just did.
Game time for the Blazers-Rockets game is 7 p.m. PT at the Rose Garden on Wednesday night (Feb. 8).
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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He doesn't miss a game, and has high hopes that the Blazers can improve their roster during the offseason and come back even better in the 2011-12 NBA season.