Apr 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) walks onto the court during overtime against the Portland Trail Blazers in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. The Trail Blazers won 122-120. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Playoffs: Blazers-Rockets Game 2 Preview


The Portland Trail Blazers managed to fight their way to a 122-120 overtime win over the Houston Rockets in Game 1. The NBA admitted they missed a late call that could’ve changed the dynamic of the game, but what’s done is done. LaMarcus Aldridge scored a career-high 46 points and snagged 18 rebounds in the win, and there’s no taking that away. Bottom line is that the Blazers deserved the game. So, let’s not even address the referees.

With that said, Game 1 was probably one of the most unpredictable game of the weekend. The Rockets could’ve won, and quite frankly should’ve won. A missed free throw here, a missed rebound there and a missed defensive assignment later, they’re down 1-0 to the visiting Trail Blazers.

Houston needs Game 2. They can’t afford to head to the Northwest in an 0-2 hole. It can’t happen.

Here’s the Game 2 preview for Blazers-Rockets at the Toyota Center:

NO MORE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

It’s OK to miss shots. It’s going to happen. But what Houston can’t afford is to miss key opportunities in Game 2. In Game 1, the Rockets held a 13-point lead in the third quarter, an 11-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and a six-point lead in overtime — and they still lost. They have to take advantage of situations better if they are going to have any chance at extending this series.

HOW HEALTHY IS BEVERLEY? 

Patrick Beverley’s MRI on his knee didn’t show any significant damage, but how healthy is the Houston Rocket’s starting point guard? Beverley has been the Rockets’ heart and soul on defense. Some would say that he’s been their only defensive factor — assuming you’re not counting Dwight Howard. And while Beverley isn’t going to light up any scoreboard, nor will his stats jump out of the sheets, it’s his relentless defense that is so valuable to this Rockets team. Without him, there’s really no defensive presence in the backcourt. They need him, and he’ll be available, but we just don’t know how healthy of a version of him the Rockets are going to have.

LATE-GAME HARDEN?

On the surface, it seemed as if James Harden had a good Game 1. After all, he finished with 27 points, six assists and five rebounds. However, his stat sheet tells a different story. Harden only shot 8-for-28 on the night and only 2-for-9 in the fourth quarter and during overtime. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Dame Lillard went 4-for-9 during the fourth quarter and overtime. It’s not much better, but it’s still better. As essentially the Rockets primary playmaker and scorer, it’s up to Harden to make the smart decisions and hit the important shots. He didn’t do that in Game 1, and we saw the result of that.

 

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