The Trail Blazers are struggling with injuries and Dave Gray thinks the Rockets will have far too much for the depleted roster...
"They look more of a team now and the likes of John Wall, Boogie Cousins and Eric Gordon, along with Victor Oladipo who was acquired in that Harden trade, can really put something together."
Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets
Friday, 00:30 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Injury woes in Portland
The Trail Blazers have been decimated by injury. CJ McColloum - who had been paying some of the best basketball of his career - and Jusef Nurkic are already out. And now they will be without Robert Covington who has a concussion. It has really derailed what had been an excellent start. They have lost three of the past five and with McCollum and Nurkic out until at least March, things could quickly get out of hand.
They do still have Damian Lillard and that gives them a chance in any game. He can take over and win a game on his own - he is top 10 all time in 50 point games. But it is so hard without McCollum in particular. If he can get them as close as possible to .500 for this stretch where his sidekick is out then he will have done well.
Rockets better without Harden?
The Rockets traded James Harden away and is 3-1 since. They look more of a team now and the likes of John Wall, Boogie Cousins and Eric Gordon, along with Victor Oladipo who was acquired in that Harden trade, can really put something together as they push for the playoffs.
They've won three straight and given up no more than 108 in those games. The defensive improvements they have made are what could carry them a long way. It should certainly be the difference tonight. They are going up against what is essentially a one man team and should be able to control the Portland offence.
Houston can win big
The injuries are just too much for Portland against a Houston team that is really coming together. Take the Rockets to not just win, but shut their opponents down. They can hold the Trail Blazers and put points up at the other end. The spread is four on this game but I like them to win by a much bigger margin.