Washington Wizards (-5, 195 o/u) at Portland Trail Blazers
The Washington Wizards (29-14) will land in Portland tonight to face the Trail Blazers (31-12) at the Moda Center (10:00 p.m. Eastern).
The Blazers have been very good at home this year, on the whole, posting a 19-4 record to date. And the team has been consistently good in almost every phase of the game, raking in the top-ten in scoring (sixth with 103.3 PPG), rebounding (third with 45.7 RPG), assists (ninth with 22.7 APG) and points against (seventh with 97.4 PAPG).
However, the Blazers will be without power forward LaMarcus Aldridge again tonight. The Blazers star is sidelined six to eight weeks with an injured hand. Before going down, Aldridge was leading the Blazers with 23.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG.
Without the University of Texas product, the Blazers lost to Phoenix on the road (118-113) and dropped a rare home game to the below-average Celtics (90-89), failing to cover as big 7.5-point home favorites.
Portland really missed Aldridge’s length on the glass against Phoenix, getting out-rebounded 50-44 by the diminutive Suns.
On the other side of the floor, the Wizards come in with a dominating defense (97.1 points against per game, third in the league) and an offense led by dynamic point guard John Wall (17.0 PPG, 10.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG).
Wall has led his team to seven wins in its last ten games, but the Wizards dropped their most recent outing to the surging Thunder (105-103 in OT).
The Wizards have won six of the last ten against the Blazers and have covered the spread in seven of those.
The odds list the Wizards as five-point favorites.
The last two games clearly show that Portland is not the same team without Aldridge. In time, Portland may learn how to survive without him but, for tonight’s game, taking the Wizards and laying the points looks like the better play.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (originally posted to Flickr as John Wall) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)