In their previous clash last month, former Houston Rockets star James Harden posted a monster performance with 44 points and 17 assists in the team's loss at the Moda Center.
This time around, following the four-team blockbuster trade, the new Houston Rockets lineup will feature John Wall and Victor Oladipo as the new guys on the block. Both players have done well in their recent stretch and will be rolling in with a three-game winning streak behind them. The duo combined for 44 points in their previous outing against the Washington Wizards.
Speaking to the media, Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas said about Wall and Oladipo:
"They were figuring out how they could make each other better and how they could let each other play to each other's strengths. Getting the ball up the floor a little quicker, I think, helps both guys. If we have options ahead of the ball and aren't playing against a set defense, or if they can have some sort of action where they're playing together, that is good stuff for us."
Emotions ran high in the Houston Rockets' 107-88 win over the Washington Wizards in their previous matchup, where John Wall and Russell Westbrook got into a heated argument. However, as things stand now, it appears that the Houston Rockets got the better end of the deal, as Wall has fared much better for his new team.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers are ready to embark on a grueling six-game road trip that starts with their matchup with the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
The Portland Trail Blazers will be severely depleted due to the injury-enforced absence of CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. As if to compound their woes, Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. have been listed as questionable for the game with the Houston Rockets.
The Portland Trail Blazers will enter this contest off a 122-125 loss against the OKC Thunder. As a team, the Portland Trail Blazers struggled from the three-point line, going for 14 of 41 from downtown. They had four players scoring above 20 points but could not make it count in the eventual scheme of things.
Nevertheless, the Portland Trail Blazers should look to rally behind Damian Lillard to battle it out with the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets Injury updates
The Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts has his work cut out for him against the Houston Rockets. His coaching staff will have to be judicious with player minutes to make sure they don't lose another key player to injury that could potentially hamper the rest of their season.
Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum remain sidelined for extended periods though. Robert Covington has been ruled out with a concussion he suffered in the Portland Trail Blazers' win over the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Derrick Jones Jr. and Rodney Hood have been listed as questionable, but there is a high probability that both players could suit up for the game.
Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets forward Christian Wood has been listed as questionable as he recovers from a sprain in his right ankle but could see action on Thursday night. But Dante Exum remains out with a strain in his right calf.
Overall, the Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas will have the upper hand, as he would have fresh legs to manage player rotations better and keep the energy levels high.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets Predicted Lineups
The Portland Trail Blazers are expected to roll out with the same lineup they used in their previous matchup with the OKC Thunder.
Damian Lillard and Gary Trent Jr should face off against Wall and Oladipo in the backcourt in what could be a fun matchup; Derrick Jones Jr. is expected to come in at the small forward position.
Much will be expected from the Portland Trail Blazers power forward Carmelo Anthony, who had a 22-point performance in his last game. Enes Kanter could have his hands full as he battles underneath the rim with the in-form DeMarcus Cousins.
The Houston Rockets have a slight edge over the Trail Blazers in this matchup, as the former have better bench players.
The Houston Rockets have done well under their new backcourt duo of John Wall and Victor Oladipo. Both players will aim to keep their hot streak going with another win on Thursday.
Eric Gordon and Christian Wood have been excellent for the Rockets this campaign and are expected to resume their forward roles. DeMarcus Cousins is likely to feature as the primary center. 'Boogie Cousins' could bully Kanter in the post area.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
G Damian Lillard, G Gary Trent Jr., F Derrick Jones Jr., F Carmelo Anthony, C Enes Kanter.
Houston Rockets Predicted Lineup
G John Wall, G Victor Oladipo, F Eric Gordon, F Christian Wood, C DeMarcus Cousins.