No. 3 Blazers take aim at No. 1 Rockets
A quick look back
Portland has moved into the number one spot in the NBA’s power rankings on both Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports lists on Monday.
The Blazers have won 13 games straight to earn the longest-active winning streak in the association. With that, the Blazers have now tied the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. The record is 16 consecutive victories (1990-91 season).
Sunday night in LA, the Blazers beat the Clippers on the road, 122-109. Moe Harkless had a big night with 21 points, while Jusuf Nurkic had another double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Now, it’s time for the big matchup against the Rockets on Tuesday.
Houston has won five in a row and 26 of its last 28 games overall. Tuesday’s game in Portland will be the final outing of a three-game trip. The Rockets beat the Pelicans, 107-101, to start the trip and then beat the Timberwolves, 129-120 on Sunday. James Harden had 34 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday.
Tuesday’s contest marks the third of four meetings this season between the Blazers and Rockets. Houston currently leads the series 2-0. In the latest matchup, the Rockets beat the Blazers, 121-112.
And, some wonder—will there be any bad blood on Tuesday?
In that last meeting in Houston on January 10th, Chris Paul had a season-high 37 points, but Paul also broke an unwritten rule when he took a shot in the final seconds of the game even though the Rockets were completely in control of the game. Damian Lillard showed is how unhappy he was with CP3 as soon as the buzzer sounded, by slapping the ball away from Paul.
Houston has taken care of business away from home too this season. The Rockets have won the most road games (29) in franchise history and currently hold the best road record (29-8) in the league.
On Monday afternoon the Portland Trail Blazers released its injury report for Tuesday’s contest. Portland has listed Shabazz Napier (left great toe) as questionable. Also keep in mind, Damian Lillard is on-call to leave for the birth of his first child. The due date for the birth is March 19th.
For the Rockets, Houston has listed Brandan Wright (right knee soreness) as out.
Current playoff picture
Portland now holds a 44-26 overall record and is currently 2 games up on Oklahoma City as the Blazers sit tight in the 3rd seed in the Western Conference.
Houston is currently up three games on the Golden State Warriors for the number one seed in the Western Conference standings with a 56-14 record. The Rockets are riding a five-game winning streak and now need only three wins for the remained of the season to finish with their best regular season record in franchise history and beat the previous record of 58-24, which was set by the 1993-94 Rockets team.
***The conference standings are up-to-date as of Monday afternoon before the slate of games tipped off.
Where: Moda Center, Portland OR
Live NBC Sports Northwest coverage: Special hour-long Rip City Live (6:30pm) and Talkin' Ball (Immediately after game)
Live streaming coverage on Facebook: The Scoop Pregame Show will stream live at 12:30pm and The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/NBCSNorthwest.
Radio: Rip City Radio 620