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2014 NBA Playoff Series Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

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Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Houston Rockets
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers will battle it out in the 4-5 matchup in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Before this seven-game series tips off, let’s break down the matchup. Spoiler alert: Either team is capable of moving on to the next round.

PG Matchup: Damian Lillard vs. Patrick Beverley

Portland Trail Blazers
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

PG Matchup: Damian Lillard vs. Patrick Beverley

Portland Trail Blazers
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Lillard is clearly the better scorer out of the two. He is averaging 20.8 points per game and Beverley is putting up 10.2 points per game. Huge difference. With that in mind, both teams put up a bunch of points per game and are actually two of the highest-scoring offenses in the NBA.

Beverley’s health will be the key in this matchup, though.

SG Matchup: Wesley Matthews vs. James Harden

James Harden
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

SG Matchup: Wesley Matthews vs. James Harden

James Harden
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden has the huge advantage in this one for the simple fact that he is one of the best players in the league. After all, Harden is putting up 25.4 points per game, 6.1 assists per game and 4.7 rebounds per game. Matthews’ numbers aren’t too shabby, though. He is averaging 16.5 points per game.

SF Matchup: Nicolas Batum vs. Chandler Parsons

Chandler Parsons
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

SF Matchup: Nicolas Batum vs. Chandler Parsons

Chandler Parsons
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Parsons is the x-factor for Houston. Howard and Harden may get the most buzz, but Parson does a little bit of everything. He is averaging 16.6 points per game, four assists per game and 5.5 rebounds per game.

As for Batum, he is a reliable scorer and a good rebounder. I don’t think Aldridge and Lillard can do it on their own, so players like Batum are really going to have to step up.

PF Matchup: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Terrence Jones

Portland
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

PF Matchup: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Terrence Jones

Portland
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Terrence Jones is a good player, but LaMarcus Aldridge is LaMarcus Aldridge. Jones averages a respectable 12.1 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game. Aldridge's numbers are a little bit better (sarcasm). He is averaging 23.2 points per game and 11.1 rebounds per game.

With that said, Jones is going to need some help covering Aldridge.

C Matchup: Robin Lopez vs. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

C Matchup: Robin Lopez vs. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

If Dwight Howard plays like Dwight Howard, Houston could easily win four games in a row. However, I expect this series to be a little bit closer than that. Lopez is very underrated and is a solid center. A good outing out of him could be the difference for Portland.

Bench Matchup

Houston
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Bench Matchup

Houston
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin is coming off of the bench for a reason. He could easily start for a number of different teams. He could also easily score more than 12.5 points per game. However, he is at his best when the ball is in his hands and he can put up points in a hurry.

Mo Williams will be key on Portland’s bench, but he isn’t exactly Lin.

Coaching Matchup: Terry Stotts vs. Kevin McHale

Houston
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching Matchup: Terry Stotts vs. Kevin McHale

Houston
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Both coaches have only coached in the playoffs once (via ESPN), so their resumes don’t exactly scream postseason experience. However, Kevin McHale coached the Rockets to the playoffs last year.

Series Notes

Houston
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Series Notes

Houston
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Regular Season Series: Houston 3, Portland 1

According to landofbasketball.com, Houston leads the all-time playoff series 10-4. Unfortunately for Portland fans, the losing trend against Houston in the playoffs may continue this year.

Howard and Harden are two of the best players in the league and they are not alone.

Trevor Lowry is a Senior Writer and Copy Editor at RantSports.com. If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry or add him to your network on Google.

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