Houston will throw out a starting five of James Harden (SG), Dwight Howard (C), Chandler Parsons (SF), Terrance Jones (PF) and either Patrick Beverly or Jeremy Lin at the point. Their bench feels a bit stronger but I may be overrating them a bit. I do like what Aaron Brooks (SG) and Omar Asik (C), when motivated, bring to the game. Harden is probably the best shooting guard in the game and Howard is top three among centers. I'm a big Parsons fan. He is a wing guy who spreads the floor with 37% three point shooting, can handle the ball and doesn't turn the ball over (1.9 per game) while playing with a high motor.
It sounds like I'm painting a picture where Portland loses this series and maybe I am. I'm not convinced Houston wins this series. They do have home court and Portland hasn't gotten past the first round in 14 years but the Trail Blazers have a team that can win any given night. But I can't go with my heart no matter how much I want to. I truly think James Harden is the type of difference maker who can carry his team and I think that will be the difference in this series. Combined with the issues on defense Portland has I think Houston wins the series. I can see the it going seven games and each could come down to the last possession. I hope the ball bounces Portland's way a few times and they can steal a few games to take the series. No matter I expect a hard fought matchup that should be fun to watch.