Trail Blazers Game Notes: Portland Trail Blazers (20-28) vs. Houston Rockets (14-34)
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (20-28) AT HOUSTON ROCKETS (14-34)
Friday, January 28 5:00 p.m. (Pacific) • Toyota Center
ALL TIME: Rockets lead, 112-92
PORTLAND HOME: Trail Blazers lead, 56-46
HOUSTON HOME: Rockets lead, 67-35
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 104-92, 11/12/21 (Hou.)
LAST HOUSTON WIN: 104-101, 1/28/21 (Hou.)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: Two (Por.)
• Friday's game is the second of four meetings between Houston and Portland this season and the final matchup at the Toyota Center.
• LAST MEETING: Portland defeated Houston 104-92 in Houston on November 12. Damian Lillard dropped 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds while CJ McCollum added 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Kevin Porter Jr. led the scoring efforts for the Rockets with 18 points, adding five rebounds and five assists as well. Eric Gordon and Alperen Sengun combined for 23 points off the bench.
• Both teams are shooting well in the new year, Portland ranks 1st in the NBA in January with 14.8 three-pointers per game while Houston ranks 6th with 13.8.
• Portland and Houston get to the line at an efficient rate, the Rockets rank 1st in the NBA with 24.5 attempts per game, while the Trail Blazers rank 5th with 22.3 attempts per game. Portland holds the edge in FT percentage - 76.8 to 71.6.
• On the defensive end, the Trail Blazers rank 13th in the NBA with 7.6 steals per game while the Rockers have the highest turnover percentage in the league - 16.6%.
• CJ McCollum is averaging 26.2 points, 5.6 assists and 5.2 assists in his last five games against Houston.
• In his last five games against the Rockets, Jusuf Nurkić is averaging a double-double with 17.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He tallied 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists and three steals in the November matchup.
• Norman Powell had a quiet night in the matchup earlier this season, dropping seven points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal. Including that game, Powell is averaging 19.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in his last five matchups with Houston.
• Eric Gordon has averaged 12.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his last five games against the Trail Blazers. He scored 11 points with three rebounds, one assist, two steals and three blocks off the bench on Nov. 12.
NEWS AND NOTES
ANFERNEE FOR THREE: Anfernee Simons has made five-plus three-pointers in 10 games this season, tied for the most in the NBA for a player 22 years old or younger. His 16 career games with five-plus three-pointers are the 11the-most in NBA history for a player before turning 23.
DROPPING DIMES: Portland recorded 27 assists vs. Dallas on Jan. 26, marking three consecutive games with 25-plus assists, the team's longest streak of the season.
SIMONS SAYS: Anfernee Simons has had a break out month since assuming a starting role. In 2022, Simons is averaging 24.2 points (15th in NBA), 7.2 assists (15th), 2.7 rebounds and 4.6 three-pointers (2nd) per game while shooting 47.2% from the field, 43.7% from deep and 89.7% at the line. Simons is one of seven players in the NBA to average at least 24 points and seven assists in January.
NURK IN THE NEW YEAR: Jusuf Nurkić continued his hot start to 2022 with his fourth consecutive game with 18-plus points and 14-plus rebounds on Jan. 19 at Boston, making him the first player in the NBA with such a streak this season. His final stat line - 29 points, 17 rebounds and six assists marks his sixth career 25/15/5 performance, the most of any Trail Blazer in the last 40 years (LaMarcus Aldridge - 3). His 13.0 rebounds per game in January rank 3rd in the NBA while his 17.5 points and 3.8 assists rank 8th and 9th among centers. His 10 double-doubles in the month rank 2nd in the NBA and mark a career-high for a single month.
WHAT A TRIP: Portland closed out its first road trip of 2022 with back-to-back stellar shooting performances, recording season-highs in three-point percentage in both games and setting a season-high with 31 assists at Toronto. The 18-of-32 (56.3%) performance at Toronto marked the first time the team has shot over 50% this season. The Trail Blazers went 4-2 on the trip and ranked 5th in the NBA in steals (9.0), 8th in blocks (5.3) and 9th in three-point % (36.2) during the stretch.
LAST FIVE GAMES
Game #48 - Dallas 132, Portland 112 — January 26, 2022, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Portland lost to Dallas 132-112 in the second game of a home back-to-back for the Trail Blazers ... Anfernee Simons led Portland with 23 points (9-14 FG, 4-7 3-PT, 1-1 FT), seven assists and two rebounds ... Norman Powell added 19 points (5-17 FG, 2-9 3-PT, 7-12 FT), nine rebounds, one assist and one steal in 36 minutes ... CJ McCollum dropped 20 points (8-16 FG, 4-10 3-PT, 0-1 FT), six assists, four rebounds and a steal ... Jusuf Nurkić snapped his double-double streak but finished with 18 points (7-11 FG, 0-1 3-PT, 4-7 FT), eight rebounds, three assists and one steal ... Tony Snell started for the eighth time this season and finished with two points (1-3 FG, 0-2 3-PT), three rebounds and one assist ... Luka Doncic recorded a triple-double for the Mavericks with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists ... Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Game #47 - Minnesota 109, Portland 107 — January 25, 2022, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Portland fell to Minnesota 109-107 at Moda Center ... Jusuf Nurkić tallied his sixth consecutive double-double with 20 points (8-18 FG, 4-6 FT), 14 boards, four assists and one steal ... Nassir Little tied his season-high with four three-pointers en route to 20 points, eight rebounds and two assists ... Anfernee Simons scored 17 points (5-18 FG, 4-13 3-PT, 3-3 FT) with seven assists and four rebounds ... CJ McCollum contributed 15 points (5-15 FG, 3-9 3-PT, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, four assists and one block ... Robert Covington scored eight points (3-11 FG, 0-3 3-PT, 2-2 FT) with six rebounds ... Norman Powell returned to action and scored eight points (2-6 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 2-2 FT) with five rebounds, two assists and one steal... Anthony Edwards led the Wolves with 40 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks ... Karl-Anthony Towns contributed 17 points and 17 boards.
Game #46 - Portland 114, Toronto 105 — January 23, 2022, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
Portland closed out a six-game road trip with a 114-105 defeat of Toronto at Scotiabank Arena ... The Trail Blazers shot over 50% for the first time this season, finishing 45-of-85 (52.9%) from the field and 18-of-32 (56.3%) from deep ... CJ McCollum led the way with 19 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals ... Nassir Little contributed 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block ... Anfernee Simons also dropped 19 points, adding five assists, three rebounds and a steal ... Jusuf Nurkic recorded his fifth consecutive double-double, finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, two blocks and a steal ... Ben McLemore knocked down five three-pointers off the bench, totaling 17 points and one rebound ... Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists ... Fred VanVleet contributed 19 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Game #45 - Portland 109, Boston 105 — January 21, 2022, TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Portland took down Boston 109-105 at TD Garden ... Jusuf Nurkić tallied his fourth straight game with 18-plus points and 14-plus rebounds, the only player in the NBA this season with such a streak, and also led the team with six assists ... CJ McCollum knocked down five three-pointers on his way to 24 points (7-19 FG, 5-10 3-PT, 5-7 FT) with five rebounds, four assists and two blocks ... Anfernee Simons dropped 21 points (8-17 FG, 4-8 3-PT, 1-2 FT) with four assists, two rebounds and two steals ... Nassir Little contributed seven points (3-7 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 0-0 FT), eight rebounds and two assists ... Ben McLemore scored 12 points (4-7 FG, 4-7 3-PT) off the bench with three rebounds ... Robert Covington tallied five rebounds, four rebounds and one block ... Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 41 minutes ... Jaylen Brown added 22 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Game #44 - Miami 104, Portland 92 — January 19, 2022, FTX Arena, Miami, Florida
Portland fell to Miami 104-92 at FTX Arena in Miami ... Anfernee Simons scored 20 1st half points, his fourth 20-point half in the last eight games, en route to 27 points (9-18 FG, 6-14 3-PT, 3-4 FT) with seven assists, three rebounds, one steal and one block in 38 minutes ... CJ McCollum finished with 24 points (10-20 FG, 4-9 3-PT), four assists, three blocks and two steals in 33 minutes ... Jusuf Nurkić recorded his third consecutive double-double, totaling 18 points (6-10 FG, 6-8 FT) and 14 rebounds with two assists, one steal and one block ... Robert Covington tallied his first double-double of the season with 11 points (3-11 FG, 3-6 3-PT, 2-2 FT), 12 rebounds and one block ... Nassir Little played 12 minutes and grabbed one rebound and blocked a shot before leaving with an injury ... Caleb Martin recored 26 points and eight rebounds off the bench for Miami ... Bam Adebayo contributed 20 points and 11 rebounds.
For the Trail Blazers, Robert Covington (right knee; MCL sprain) and Dennis Smith Jr. (right ankle; sprain, right knee; IT band friction syndrome) are questionable; CJ Elleby (left leg; hamstring strain) is doubtful; Nassir Little (left shoulder; labral tear), Damian Lillard (core muscle recovery), Larry Nance Jr. (right knee; inflammation) and Cody Zeller (right knee; patellar fracture) are out for tomorrow's game at Houston.
For the Rockets, Usman Garuba (left wrist; fracture), Daishen Nix (G League - two-way) and Trevelin Queen (G League - two-way) are out.
Friday’s game can be seen locally on ROOT SPORTS with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam calling the action. On the radio side, Travis Demers, Michael Holton and Jay Allen will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.