NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 12th (All times Eastern)
Houston Rockets (15-7) at Portland Trail Blazers (18-4), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will try to avenge one of their two home losses this season when they welcome the Houston Rockets to the Moda Center.
The Rockets knocked off the Blazers, 116-101, in Portland on Nov. 5. Of course, the Blazers were an ordinary 2-2 after that setback. No one in the NBA expected what's happened since, which is a 16-2 record, including wins in five of their last six.
Portland earned a tough victory in Salt Lake City Monday night, defeating the Utah Jazz, 105-94. It was an off night shooting the 3-pointer for the Blazers, but Portland scored 44 points in the paint.
"With our offense, I want us to be opportunistic with whatever the game gives us," head coach Terry Stotts said. "If it gives us 3s, we knock them down. If it gives us the paint, that's good too with LaMarcus on the block. One thing we've done well with offensively is we take what the game gives us."
Aldridge, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, was the game- high scorer with 24 points. Damian Lillard finished with 18 points, followed by 16 from Wesley Matthews.
Robin Lopez registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Nicolas Batum only managed seven points, but handed out 11 assists.
Portland will embark on a four-game eastern trip following Thursday's game. The Blazers visit Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland and Minnesota on the sojourn.
The Rockets have won two straight since losing two in a row. They begin a three-game trek west and will also head to Golden State and Sacramento.
Houston received some great news at practice on Tuesday as Jeremy Lin was a full participant. He hasn't played in almost two weeks with a right knee sprain, but declared himself ready to go for Thursday night.
"I feel good, no limitations," Lin told the team's website. "I'll be back (for Thursday's game). I'm full go. (I might need) a little conditioning, or maybe I'm not jumping as high off of that right foot, but I never really jumped that high off the right foot, anyway."
Lin averaged 15.3 ppg before the injury.
Omer Asik and Greg Smith both missed practice and are expected to miss the Portland game. Chandler Parsons was a limited participant because of back spasms, but he's going to play Thursday.
Houston won two in a row at home, highlighted by a 98-88 victory on Sunday over the Orlando Magic.
James Harden dumped in 27 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds, while Dwight Howard scored 20 points and grabbed 22 rebounds against his former team.
"I just wanted to get the win tonight," Howard said. "I'm just happy our team came out tonight, settled down and played basketball."
Parsons had 18 points and Terrence Jones had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The Rockets have won three straight over the Blazers and seven of the last nine meetings. Houston has won two in a row and five of six in Portland.
12/12 10:25:25 ET