Pinwheel Empire is a social Blazers site which aims to bring fans together in a unique and new community. It's run by a bunch of volunteer gerbils all over the world. We're new, trying to cross the Rubicon and do something different – it's an evolving process with a lot of small victories and defeats.
Team Records: Portland (25-24) at Houston (27-24)
Game Info: 5 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Houston -7.5
Refs: Marc Davis, Mark Ayotte, Sean Wright
The Skinny: The Blazers look to rebound from a loss in Dallas Wednesday as they face perhaps their most important game of the year in Houston. The Blazers and Rockets are locked in a tight battle for the final playoff spot and a win would give Portland that all important season series tie breaker (since Portland already won the first 2 meetings between the two early in the year). Houston is coming off a loss to Miami but scored 140 and hit an NBA-record tying 23 3s in a win over Golden State earlier this week.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers forced OT and then dominated once they got there, pulling out to a big lead and then holding on late when the Rockets rallied. Lillard took over when it mattered, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter and OT to lead Portland to the win.
Projected Rockets Lineup:
PF: Patrick Patterson (Kentucky, 3rd season) – 11.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.1 APG
SF: Chandler Parsons (Florida, 2nd season) – 14.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.7 APG
C: Omer Asik (Turkey, 3rd season) – 10.3 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1 APG
SG: James Harden (Arizona State, 4th season) – 25.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.6 APG
PG: Jeremy Lin (Harvard, 3rd season) – 12.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.2 APG
Player to Watch: Jeremy Lin (pictured at right) – There have been few more unexpected and amazing feats than that pulled off by Jeremy Lin during last season. Coming seemingly out of nowhere, Jeremy Lin had as amazing a two-week run as the NY’s starting PG as you are ever likely to see. Even though a knee injury ended his season shortly thereafter, Lin had completely turned his career around, from a bench warmer to a highly paid star. After New York refused to match Houston’s offer sheet, Lin found himself headed to Houston. The results this year have been mostly okay so far, nothing special but very solid for a starting PG in the NBA. It isn’t Linsanity but regardless, no one will ever think of Lin as an afterthought again, he is here in the league to stay.
Did You Know?: Houston entered this season as the youngest and least experienced team in the league on average, although you certainly wouldn’t know it by their record.
Song of the Day: “Free Bird by Lyndrd Skynyrd-Sometimes you just want to yell FREE BIRD! This is one of those times Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliott Williams (Achilles), Questionable-SF Sasha Pavlovic (Foot), PG Ronnie Price (Ankle)
Houston: Probable-SG Carlos Delfino (Elbow)
Re-Evaluating Houston: On Blowouts
During the closing moments of Houston’s blowout win over the Warriors on Tuesday night, many Warriors fans complained openly that Houston was still shooting 3s, trying to break the NBA record for 3s made in a game. While good sportsmanship is of course always something we want to practice, in reality my view has always been, if you don’t want to get blown out, you should play better. That being said, since Golden State and Houston will meet again this year, it is perhaps not advisable to run up the score given that doubtless Golden State will remember their loss and put in extra effort to beat the Rockets.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit second chance points. The Rockets, especially Asik, feast on second chance opportunities. If the Blazers can limit those, they should be able to make life difficult for Houston and come out with a win.
Houston wins if: They make their 3s The Rockets don’t have to make 23 3s to beat Portland, far from it, but if they can shoot a reasonable percentage in making 10-15, they should prevail.CONTINUE WITH POST
Team Records: Portland (25-23) at Dallas (20-28)
Game Info: 5:30 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Dallas -5.5
Refs: James Capers, Derrick Collins, Olandis Poole
The Skinny: The Blazers look to make it three wins in a row as they head to Dallas for the second of their season-defining six game road trip. The Mavericks badly need a win to retain any hope of making the playoffs. Dallas comes into this game fresh off a shellacking at the hands of the OKC Thunder.
Last Time They Met: Portland erased a 21-point third quarter lead and LaMarcus Aldridge scored five points in the final five seconds of the game to give the Blazers an epic come from behind victory.
Projected Mavericks Lineup:
PF: Dirk Nowitzki (Germany, 15th season) – 14.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.5 APG
SF: Shawn Marion (UNLV, 14th season) – 11.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.6 APG
C: Bernard James (Florida State, Rookie) – 3.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, .1 APG
SG: OJ Mayo (USC, 5th season) – 17.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.4 APG
PG: Darren Collison (UCLA, 4th season) – 12.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 5.2 APG
Player to Watch: Vince Carter (pictured at right) – It has been a long often bumpy ride for the player once considered one of the most exciting in the NBA. Carter might have lost the physical prowess that allowed him to put up amazing dunk after amazing dunk but he is still a fairly good player. Carter is a decent outside shooter and has good handles on offense. He is also a decent passer, although when his shot isn’t falling he tends to dig himself a deeper hole by not passing the ball and trying to shoot his way out of it. Carter is a decent defender if he’s into it but he often isn’t. Bottom line, he may no longer be Vinsanity but he’s still a decent player.
Did You Know?: Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle’s next win will be his 500th career coaching win. Carlisle will be the 28th NBA coach to accomplish this feat.
Song of the Day: “Hit the Road Jack” by Percy Mayfield as performed by Ray Charles-Since we are in his hometown, I thought best to go with something Aldridge loves. Many of you might not know but Aldridge plays the piano and his favorite pianist is Ray Charles. Here is one of Ray’s best. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliott Williams (Achilles), Questionable –SF Sasha Pavlovic (Foot), PG Ronnie Price (Ankle)
Dallas: Out-C Chris Kaman (Concussion), Questionable-SG Vince Carter (Illness).
Re-Evaluating Dallas: Aldridge’s Dallas Dominance
Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge often seems to play his best ball against his home town club. Both of his career buzzer beater winners are against them (one last week and one last year in double OT in Dallas) and indeed generally Aldridge plays best when facing the Mavericks. In 22 career regular season games against the Mavericks, Aldridge is averaging 21.6 points (his 2nd most against any team (22.9 versus Detroit) on 52% shooting, as well as 8.3 rebounds a game. Given how strong a team Dallas has been during LMA’s career, this is no small feat for him. Now if only we could trick him into thinking he was playing Dallas every night…
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit Dallas’s 3 point shooting. The Mavs live and die by the jump shot. Make them attack you inside and they become far less effective. If Portland can do so, they should win.
Dallas wins if: They hold Portland under 90 points. The Mavs typically win because of good defense. If they can hold Portland under 90, they will almost certainly prevail Wednesday.CONTINUE WITH POST