NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 9th (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (42-20) at Houston Rockets (43-19), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Western Conference powers collide Sunday, as the Houston Rockets play host to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Rockets are third in the West standings and the Blazers sit fifth, just one game behind Houston.
Houston has won four in a row and 14 of its last 16 games, including an impressive 112-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers. James Harden scored 28 points, Dwight Howard chipped in 15 to go with seven rebounds and both Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin added 11 points.
"I really like what I see," Houston head coach Kevin McHale said. "I like it defensively. Everyone is on the same page. They are talking it out, and the guys are doing their job of just playing together."
The Rockets have won seven in a row at home and are 25-7 in Space City. They will start a three-game road trip Tuesday against Oklahoma City, Chicago and Miami.
Portland will continue its five-game trip down south and started the trek with Friday's 103-98 loss at Dallas.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points on 13-of-28 shooting anf pulled down 17 rebounds in defeat, while Wesley Matthews netted 26 points for the Blazers, who have dropped two of three games since a five-game win streak.
The Blazers committed 19 turnovers for 23 Dallas points and had scored 100 or more points in the previous nine games.
Portland still has Memphis, San Antonio and New Orleans to visit on the trip and owns an 18-12 mark outside the Rose City. Blazers forward Nicolas Batum is probable for Sunday with a bruised nose and is averaging 12.9 points.
The Trail Blazers have lost two of three matchups with Houston this season and eight of the past 11 games in the series. The Rockets are 15-3 in the last 18 encounters with the Blazers at the Toyota Center.
03/09 10:56:12 ET