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Trail Blazers look to give Houston problems

Trail Blazers look to give Houston problems

The past two games have followed the precise blueprint the Houston Rockets were expecting to roll out when they teamed Dwight Howard and James Harden.

So did their first visit to Portland.

The Rockets handed the Western Conference-best Trail Blazers their most lopsided loss of the season last month at the Moda Center, a result that'll surely be fresh in Portland's mind Thursday night in a rematch of the NBA's two highest-scoring teams.

Houston (15-7) blamed mental lapses and a lack of energy for its back-to-back losses to Utah and Phoenix last week, but there's been no dip in focus over the last two games.

Harden had 34 points, while Howard had 22 and 18 boards in Friday's 105-83 rout of Golden State. Howard then posted his first 20-20 game in a Rockets uniform and Harden (27 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds) narrowly missed a triple-double in Sunday's 98-88 win over Orlando.

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Wesley Matthews at practice yesterday:

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