Trail Blazers

Portland preparing for Houston like James Harden is "the same Harden"

Trail Blazers
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Saturday marks the second game of the 2020-21 season for the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed pregame that his team is looking to bounce back from Wednesday's 20-point loss to the Jazz.  

“We need to be aggressive regardless of who is on the court and I think we’ll do that,” Stotts said.

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It will certainly be a different looking Rockets team.

Houston enters Saturday's game at Moda Center with nine eligible players due to injuries and COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The NBA requires eight players to be active in order for a game to be played.

This will be Houston's first game of the season.

 

Their season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed due to their inability to have the necessary amount of players available. 

Rockets superstar James Harden will be available to play Saturday following a $50k fine for violating COVID-19 protocols, but the team as a whole is not in the clear from positive COVID test results and others are forced to quarantine due to contact tracing.  

Here is the full report of inactive players for Houston:

· Chris Clemons (right Achilles; surgery)

· DeMarcus Cousins (health and safety protocols)

· Eric Gordon (health and safety protocols)

· Mason Jones (health and safety protocols) 

· Kenyon Martin Jr. (Not with team - self isolating)

· Ben McLemore (Not with team - self isolating) 

· John Wall (health and safety protocols)

As for not having a regular season scouting report on Harden yet, that doesn’t change the Blazers preparation on the 2018 MVP, who missed a handful of Rockets training camp days and has requested a trade out of Houston.  

I think we have to go on the assumption that he’s the same James Harden that we’ve played against… Particularly with the players that are missing tonight, I would expect him to be even more so that way.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts

“Obviously they’re missing some key players… But, ordinarily when you are preparing for Houston you are preparing for James Harden, which is the case for tonight,” Stotts said. 

 

Houston went 3-1 in the preseason with John Wall leading the way in scoring in half of those games.  

As for the Rockets missing key players, Coach Stotts added:  

Certainly if you had to prepare for John Wall, and DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Gordon and the rest that’s an additional challenge.

Terry Stotts

For the Blazers Saturday, Anfernee Simons is available after missing the final three preseason games and Portland’s home opener with a hamstring strain. Coach Stotts said Simons "will see limited minutes if he plays.”

Portland and Houston tip-off at 7:00p.m. PST on NBCSNW.