The Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets will play what should be one of the best series in the first round of the NBA playoffs; game one will be this Sunday at 9:30 PM ET at the Toyota Center, in Houston.
Houston finished fourth in the Western Conference, and they are happy to be here, but they are not ready to celebrate just their ‘participation.’
“Just being here is not good enough,” said Chandler Parsons, who made his playoff debut last year. “We want to win and we want to contend for a championship and we want to be the last team standing.”
The Rockets were eliminated in the first round last season by Oklahoma City, but they think they have a better shot of advancing this season.
“I think last year that first-round playoff series gave us a little taste of what it feels like to be in the playoffs,” James Harden said. “So hopefully we’re familiar with the playoffs and whatnot and we go out there and just play basketball.”
The Blazers were number one at some point in the west this season, but several injuries stroke them and ended as the 5th seed.
“I’m just going to try to go into it and play it like another basketball game,” Lillard said, “and not put too much pressure on the fact that it’s my first playoff game or that we’re on the road or all those other things.”
The Rockets won three of the four games in the series against the Blazers this season. Houston is 5.5 points favorite in the NBA betting odds for game 1.