Golden State Warriors (-3, 211.5 o/u) at Portland Trail Blazers
For the second time in these NBA playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS) will return home to the Moda Center in a 2-0 hole. The upstart Blazers aren’t panicking, but they know they can’t afford another setback in Game 3 against the Golden State Warriors (6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS) on Saturday Night (8:30 PM Eastern).
With Steph Curry out of the lineup for Golden State, Portland dominated most of Game 2, and the series was about to get interesting. But the Warriors launched a furious fourth-quarter comeback, outscoring Portland 34-12 in the decisive frame to take a 110-99 win.
Golden State was once again led by Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Both were a mediocre 7 of 20 from the field, but Thompson went 8 of 8 from the stripe for 27 points, while Green added 14 boards and seven assists to go along with his 17 points.
For Portland, the dynamic guard tandem of Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum did their part, combining for 47 points on 17 of 39 from the floor, and the team as a whole shot a respectable 44-percent. But 17 turnovers (including six from center Mason Plumlee) proved a big difference-maker.
Now the Blazers are in the same 2-0 hole they faced against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. Portland responded by winning four straight in that one, but had the massive good fortune of facing a Clippers squad down its two best players (Blake Griffin and Chris Paul).
Yes, the Warriors are missing league MVP Steph Curry. But he was already out for the first two games, and the Warriors were still able to get it done, not only winning straight up but covering the spread in both Games 1 and 2.
At least Portland will be able to take some comfort in the fact that they handed the Warriors one of their nine regular-season losses at the Moda Center (when Curry was healthy, to boot). Back in February, the Blazers stomped Golden State 137-105; Lillard had an absolutely massive night, scoring a career-high 51 points.
The Blazers have played three good quarters in each of the first two games in the series but haven’t been able to put together a 48-minute performance, yet. With their home crowd on their side, they should be able to come out and finish strong, finally taking advantage of Curry’s absence.
Even though Golden State has covered nine of the last ten head to head, I’m recommending Portland and the points (+3).
Pick: Blazers +3.
(Photo Credit: nikk_la (Flickr: K26A0442) CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)