Best NBA Matchup of the Week & Pick

The 2018-19 NBA season is in full swing, and there are several early candidates for the biggest surprises and biggest disappointments so far this season. The Houston Rockets are a team that would fall into the biggest disappointment category through the early games of the season. Houston enters this week with a 1-4 record and is in last place in the Southwest Division. Houston had the best regular season record in the NBA a season ago, but have not found their stride yet.

The Rockets will host the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night in a key Western Conference battle. The Blazers enter this week with a 3-2 record, but will take on the Indiana Pacers on Monday night before traveling to Houston. Let's take a quick look at both teams before outlining why the Houston Rockets are the pick of the week.

Rockets Struggling on Defense

The Houston Rockets have given up a whopping 118.8 points per game this season, which is among the worst in the NBA. Houston gave up 133 points in their most recent loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and look like a mess on the defensive side of the ball. Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni will figure out a defensive scheme to slow down the Portland attack in this game.

2017-18 MVP James Harden will miss this game after suffering a hamstring strain last week. Without Harden, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony will be asked to pick up the load on offense. Paul has averaged 19.7 points and eight assists per game so far this season, and is capable of being the top scorer for the team. Carmelo Anthony is averaging 14.2 points per game so far in his first season with the Rockets.

Blazers Putting Up Points

The Portland Trail Blazers are averaging 122.4 points per game so far this season, which is the second best mark in the league. Point guard Damian Lillard is averaging an impressive 33.8 points so far this season, and is widely considered one of the best players in the NBA. CJ McCollum is averaging nearly 20 points per game in support of Lillard.

Portland has consistently been one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, and that trend has continued this season. The Blazers have given up more than 117 points per game this season, and that strategy won't work against a terrific Rockets offense.

Houston Snaps Skid

The spread for this game is likely to be very small, and the Rockets have the edge of playing at home in this game. The Rockets have too much talent on the floor to continue to lose games, and they will have a sense of urgency against the Blazers. Portland will have to face a tough Pacers team on Monday night, and they will come into Houston fatigued. All signs point to the Rockets snapping their skid in a big way over the Blazers on Tuesday night. Bet the Houston Rockets over the Portland Trail Blazers.