The Houston Rockets take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of this opening-round playoff series. If the Rockets hope to advance, they'll likely need James Harden to be at the top of his game. He averaged 30.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG and 5.2 APG versus the Trail Blazers this year. Likewise, the Trail Blazers may rely heavily on LaMarcus Aldridge, who averaged 26.8 PPG, 15.5 RPG and 1.5 APG versus the Rockets. The Rockets controlled the season series, going 3-1 while averaging 116.0 points per game and giving up 109.5 points per game.
The Houston Rockets start the playoffs following an outstanding regular season in which they had a record of 54-28. On the other hand, the Portland Trail Blazers enter the playoffs coming off a great regular season, also posting a record of 54-28.
This series will be a showdown of strength against strength, as the high-octane offense of Houston (fifth in the NBA with an offensive efficiency of 107.9) takes on the top-notch defense of Portland (fourth in the league with a defensive efficiency of 110.7). Each team is among the NBA's best in a trio of advanced metrics. Houston ranks near the top in free throw attempt rate (first), effective field goal percentage (third), and offensive efficiency (fifth). The Trail Blazers, meanwhile, place highly in offensive rebounding percentage (third), defensive efficiency (fourth), and offensive efficiency (fourth).