This Sunday, the most exciting time of the NBA season, the playoffs, will kick off. The Western Conference holds some of the most exciting matchups, including a battle between the No. 4 and 5 seeds.
The Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers have given us four intense matchups throughout the regular season, averaging a final score of 116-110 with Houston on top. Both teams rank within the top 10 in three-pointers attempted, pace, and overall scoring. There’s no doubt that each game will be a shootout, as the Rockets and Trailblazers have two of the most potent offenses in the west.
Both teams house two outstanding All-Stars, the Rockets with Dwight Howard and James Harden, the Trailblazers with LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. Guarded by offensive-top heavy Wesley Matthews, Harden will inevitably get his way at the two guard. However, this is also the case in Portland, with LaMarcus Aldridge set to dominate at the four position. The real battle will occur at the point and down low. Dwight Howard has a slight advantage over center Robin Lopez with a dominant athletic ability. In addition, Damian Lillard, although bothered by Patrick Beverly over the regular season, has been hot of late. These matchups will be vital to the success of either team, in addition to being the most entertaining.
The most important matchup of this series will be at the small forward position. Both Nicolas Batum and Chandler Parsons are sharpshooters looking for any kind of advantage over one other. Batum averages 13 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Parsons puts up 16.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest. With almost identical play styles, the Batum/Parsons matchup will be the deciding factor of the entire series.
Both the Rockets and Blazers ended the season at impressive 54-28 records. Although the Rockets took the season series 3-1, both teams are eerily similar. As the majority of NBA fanatics turn to the Warriors/Clippers matchup, I will be tuning in to Toyota Center for a sure-fire thriller.
-Ā Tim Sauchuk is a Staff Writer for ProSportsExtra.comĀ