Tip-off: 0305, 30/01/2020
Stadium: Moda Center
TV: Sky Sports
Moda Center will host a potential battle between the NBA’s two most in-form scoring guards as James Harden’s Houston Rockets travel to Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Lillard poured in 50 points and 13 assists during their 139-129 victory against Indiana Pacers last time out, with backcourt ally CJ McCollum adding 28 points.
The Rockets’ hopes could be dashed depending on the fitness of Harden, who has missed the last two matches due to a thigh injury.
He has travelled to Portland but is unlikely to play the average of 37.0 minutes per game that he has this season and that will favour the hosts.
With this in mind, we fancy Portland to just edge it and 21/20 for a home win is our first Trail Blazers v Rockets prediction.
A Look At Portland Trail Blazers’ Betting Odds
All the plaudits have gone to Lillard after registering a huge 158 points in the last three games for the Trail Blazers, and rightly so.
The 29-year-old has been in blistering form since narrowly missing out on a starting spot in next month’s All-Star game for the Western Conference.
However, his partnership with McCollum cannot go unnoticed and despite Lillard being the main focus for their opponents, Houston will be wary of the talents of the other guard.
McCollum has improved on his career average (18.2) of points per game this season to 21.6 and he has been in hot-scoring form in his last four games, grabbing a century of points.
He missed the overtime victory over Golden State Warriors and the defeat to Dallas Mavericks with an ankle injury but returned in superb fashion with a 28-point performance.
We are confident McCollum can continue this hot streak into the Houston clash and he appeals at Trail Blazers v Rockets odds.
A Look At Houston Rockets’ Betting Odds
Houston have seen their home play-off hopes fade in recent weeks, falling 2.5 games adrift of the fourth-placed Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference.
There is plenty of time for the Rockets to regain their push towards a preferable top-four finish, but they have shown inconsistent form.
They are 5-5 in their last 10 NBA contests and have lost three of the last five on the road, although they did dish out Utah Jazz’s fourth home defeat of the season last time out.
That performance was even more impressive without Harden and star guard Russell Westbrook. Eric Gordon (50) and Austin Rivers (21) stepped up for the Rockets, but they will need more against Portland.
Even if Harden does return, he was restricted to just 13 points when these two teams met in Houston earlier this month – his lowest score in two years – despite Westbrook’s triple-double.
Clint Capela has been a key cog in Houston’s wheel, especially on the boards, and he is another doubt for the visitors.
Portland’s half-court trap worked to perfection two weeks ago and we fancy them to restrict Houston’s scoring again, so 19/20 for under 236.5 points in the game is added to our Trail Blazers v Rockets betting tips.
PORTLAND 139-129 Indiana
Utah 117-126 HOUSTON
Head-to-head: Houston 107-117 Portland, Houston 132-108 Portland, Portland 110-101 Houston, Houston 111-104 Portland
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