Carmelo Anthony will return to face his former team when the Portland Trail Blazers visit the Houston Rockets in the early hours of Thursday morning, live on Sky Sports Arena.
Live NBA: Portland @ Houston
Thursday 16th January 2:30am
The Rockets signed Anthony on a one-year, $2.4m contract in August 2018 before parting ways with him in November after just 10 appearances.
He then became part of a trade to the Chicago Bulls in January in exchange for draft rights to Tadija Dragicevic, before being waived little over a week later.
Anthony was signed for the Blazers on a one-year deal last November and has since managed 26 starts, averaging 16.3 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game as well as producing a season-high 28 points and seven rebounds in the 101-99 win over the Toronto Raptors earlier this month.
The Blazers enter the contest 17-24 on the year and 10th in the Western Conference, while the Rockets sit 26-13 and fifth in the West.
Portland ended a two-game losing streak last time out as they beat the Charlotte Hornets 115-112 thanks to a game-high 30 points from Damian Lillard, who also supplied nine assists and three rebounds. A tight game had seen the Hornets threaten a late come back courtesy of Devonte’ Graham’s double-double of 27 points and 10 assists.
Lillard leads his team this season with an average of 26.8 points per game, not to mention also in assists (7.6) and turnovers (2.8).
Houston arrive on the back of a 121-110 defeat to the Ja Morant-led Memphis Grizzlies, during which James Harden dropped a game-high 41 points but missed 14-of-19 three pointers. Eric Gordon also had 23 points while Clint Capela collected 16 rebounds, however, it was Morant that ran the show with 26 points along with support from Dillon Brooks’ 24.
Harden leads all players with 37.8 points per game on average, Russell Westbrook is meanwhile putting up 24.6 points per outing and Capela is sixth overall with 461 rebounds so far this season.
Mario Hezonja is questionable for Wednesday’s matchup after missing Monday’s win over the Charlotte Hornets with a back problem, according to Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest.
Westbrook is expected to be back in action for the Rockets after being rested in Tuesday night’s defeat to the Grizzlies.
Last time out
15.4 – That’s how many three-pointers the Rockets are averaging per game – the most in the league.
Harden himself has drilled a league-high 194 three-pointers up until this point, experiencing an unusually troublesome evening behind the arc in Memphis on Tuesday. In comparison the Blazers are making 12.1 three-pointers per game.
One to watch (Blazers): C.J. McCollum
C.J. McCollum played a key role in Portland’s win over Charlotte, following Lillard with 27 points along with four rebounds and four assists.
The game saw him make 11-of-22 field goal tries and notably five-of-eight from the three-point line to leave his points average at 21.9 heading into the game.
His season-best dates back to November when McCollum put up 37 points and 10 assists in the 137-129 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks. This arrived three days after his 25 points in the 132-108 loss to Houston.
One to watch (Rockets): Clint Capela
Capela put himself in a nice personal spot on Tuesday with 16 rebounds and 16 points against Memphis having missed three of the Rockets’ last seven games prior to then due to a right heel contusion.
He has played five times in January, with standout performances seeing him produce 14 rebounds and 30 points in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers, before registering 22 rebounds and 22 assists to help his side to victory against the Atlanta Hawks.
The 25-year-old had 20 rebounds and 22 points when the Rockets and the Blazers met earlier in the season.
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