The NBA World View: Western Conference First Round, Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

The Experts
One Thing I'm Looking Forward To Most...
Iñako Díaz-Guerra

Are the Rockets for real? Are they contenders or pretenders? I need to see it to believe it and this series are the exam they have to pass to convince the world.

Emeka Enyadike
A lot will hinge on the fitness of Dwight Howard for the Rockets, though I reckon James Harden v Damian Lillard will be interesting. To say the least.
Karan Madhok

Both these teams have great offensive balance with game-changers at the guard (Harden, Lillard), forward (Parsons, Batum) and post (Howard, Aldridge). I'm looking forward to a three-point frenzy from both sides.

Akshay Manwani
Damian Lillard’s feisty, rising-against-the-odds play in the entire series.

Bring a flashlight to the arena, because this is two teams that will try to shoot the lights out from behind the 3-point line. Up and down styles, plenty of offense and I want to see how serious Dwight Howard can be about lifting to the Rockets up to the level of real contenders.

Simon Legg
I’m really looking forward to the Lillard v Beverley match up. I think this series will be closer than some people think given it’s the only series where both teams have identical records. Houston shoot the most 3s in the league and Portland shoot the 3rd most, this should be fun!
Stefanos Triantafyllos

The two surprising teams of the West are sitting in opposite corners. The match-up of Harden-Howard against Lillard-Aldridge is one of the most interesting in this year's playoffs.

Takuma Oikawa
James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge, both are unstoppable. This is the most difficult series to predict.
Max Marbeiter

I simply expect a very intense series with a lot questions to be answered. Will the Rockets find a way to guard Lillard if Beverley isn’t a hundred percent fit? How will Portland’s poor defense react to Houston’s scoring power? How will Aldridge be guarded?

Davide Chinellato
They're probably not gonna be match up against each other, but what about James Harden vs. Damian Lillard. Both are explosive when attaching the basket but can also hit from distance. It's going to be fun.
Aldo Aviñante

Battle of two young teams trying to establish themselves as new powers of the West. It will be interesting to see who will dominate the post, the power playing Dwight Howard or the sweet-shooting Lamarcus Aldridge in a battle of premier big men.

Adriano Albuquerque
Is Dwight Howard healthy enough to lead the Rockets? He is the difference-maker that could take Houston over the hump and over the Rockets. They will need him at his best to stop LaMarcus Aldridge and to score inside. If Dwight is not 100% and starts getting frustrated, he'll start getting technicals, and then their defense, already sufferable, might crumble entirely.
Scott Howard-Cooper

I will be interested to see how much Patrick Beverley will play and at what level. Houston needs him on Damian Lillard.
The Predictions
1. Indiana Pacers vs. 8. Atlanta Hawks - Predictions | Series Hub | WATCH
2. Miami Heat vs. 7. Charlotte Bobcats - Predictions | Series Hub | WATCH
3. Toronto Raptors vs. 6. Brooklyn Nets - Predictions | Series Hub | WATCH
4. Chicago Bulls vs. 5. Washington Wizards - Predictions | Series Hub | WATCH
1. San Antonio Spurs vs. 8. Dallas Mavericks - Predictions | Series Hub | WATCH
2. Oklahoma City vs. 7. Memphis Grizzlies - Predictions | Series Hub | WATCH
3. L.A. Clippers vs. 6. Golden State Warriors - Predictions | Series Hub | WATCH
4. Houston Rockets vs. 5. Portland Trail Blazers - Predictions | Series Hub | WATCH