After two good games to start the 2012-2013 NBA season, the Jeremy Lin Era in Houston hasnâ€™t gotten off to the best start.
The Rockets are 4-4 to begin the year, but Lin has struggled to establish himself as a top flight point guard in the Western Conference. His 10.9 points and 6.1 assists per game are less than what he was registering for the New York Knicks last year, and his 35.3 field goal percentage is 31st among point guards.
The third-year player still has time to adjust and gel with his new teammates. Houstonâ€™s roster looks much different than it did a year ago. Chandler Parsons is the only Rockets player that started more than one game for the team last year.
The acquisition of James Harden has certainly taken pressure off Lin. Traded just days before Houstonâ€™s opener, Harden is tied with Kobe Bryant for the league-lead in scoring.
On Friday night, the Rockets will face another team that is looking to make up for a poor showing in the lockout-shortened season. Theyâ€™ll visit the Portland Trail Blazers at 10 p.m. ET. You can watch a live stream online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
The Blazers point guard isnâ€™t as well known as Lin, but might already be a better player. Damian Lillard hasnâ€™t played like a rookie in his first eight games as a pro, putting up 18.4 points, 6.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.
The two have already faced off once this season. Lillard and the Blazers bested Lin and the Rockets 95-85 in overtime. Lillard finished the game just one assist shy of a double-double. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 29 points.
Itâ€™s expected to be another close contest, but Portland is expected to win again with the game at home. The consensus betting line at most Las Vegas sportsbooks has the Blazers as two-point favorites.
Prediction: Houston took Portland to overtime, despite shooting just 35.4 percent from the field. Lillard should find success against Lin again, but Harden should perform better than 8-of-24 from the field. The Rockets should take home another close one.
Predicted Score: Houston 94, Portland 92