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July 31, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: Houston Rockets at Portland Trailblazers

Here’s the latest installment of the Play of the Day, which uses odds from the South Point.

Our three sports writers started with a $10,000 bankroll — fictional, of course.

Houston Rockets moneyline (plus-125) at Portland Trailblazers: $400 to win $500

This is one of two series playing tonight with the higher seed facing an 0-2 hole. In the case of the Chicago Bulls, I don’t think they’re coming back against the Washington Wizards. I don’t feel the same about the Rockets, who won the No. 4 seed with a tiebreaker over Portland.

For starters, there’s no way Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge keeps up his 44.5 points per game playoff average. His absurdly good play is the main reason Portland is in this position right now.

He’s going to regress closer to his average, and it’s on the Rockets to help him do that. Houston’s defense hasn’t even been bad on Aldridge, as he’s hit a ton of crazy shots, but even if it requires double teams, the Rockets can’t allow him to get in a rhythm.

There’s a lot of pressure on Houston right now. After adding James Harden and Dwight Howard in the last two offseasons, the Rockets were supposed to be the new contenders. Instead they’re already in a dire position.

Portland may, in fact, be the better team in this series. However, the Blazers aren’t so much better that they’re going to be able to sweep the series, so I like the Rockets to get one back tonight.

Standings: Bern (20-16, $10,100), Keefer (17-19, $9,308), Brewer (14-19-3, $6,615)

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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