The Portland Trail Blazers won one of four regular season games against the Houston Rockets this year, but they'll have to get over it. Terry Stotts' fifth-place Western Conference team draws the Rockets for their postseason matchup, and the Blazers will need to find answers in stopping Dwight Howard and James Harden.
Still, Houston doesn't have an answer for LaMarcus Aldridge, who proved he could help his team hang. Here's what the regular season series looked like between the two squads.
Nov. 5 -- Rockets 116, Blazers 101
The Rockets had their way in the paint in the teams' first meeting of the year, outscoring the Blazers 54-28 there and putting Harden and Howard on the free throw line enough to get their primary defenders, Wes Matthews and Robin Lopez, into a bit of foul trouble. Harden finished with 33 while Howard scored 29, but the real key to the win was a soft Portland defense. The Blazers allowed 55 percent shooting despite holding Houston to a poor 6-of-22 day from behind the three-point arc.
Dec. 12 -- Blazers 111, Rockets 104
The only win in the series for Portland came behind a monster effort from Aldridge. The Trail Blazers forward scored 31 points, grabbed 25 rebounds and highlighted Houston's deficiencies in defending at the power forward position. Second-year forward Terrence Jones had a plus-minus of minus-26 in the game. He hardly played in the first game, missed one because of injury and again struggled to defend Aldridge in the final outing. Jones could be the biggest X-factor for Houston.
Jan. 20 -- Rockets 126, Blazers 113
Houston poured in 16 three-pointers in this one to snap Portland's five-game winning streak, and Chandler Parsons led the way with 31 points, 10 rebounds and seven dimes. Aldridge put in a strong 27-point, 20-rebound outing but went 11-for-26 from the field. The Blazers fell behind 71-56 by halftime and couldn't do enough in the second half to cool off the Rockets, who shot 52 percent for the game.
March 9 -- Rockets 118, Blazers 113 (OT)
Harden nailed a three-point shot with eight seconds left to force overtime after the Rockets had overcome a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter, and Houston took over in overtime to win. Harden finished with 41 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals while hitting seven three-pointers on the day. Meanwhile, the Rockets forced Aldridge into a poor shooting night that saw him go 10-for-27 from the floor.