NBA Previews: Portland Trail Blazers at Cleveland Cavaliers
Betting Odds Courtesy of Bovada
For a team that made so few major roster changes over the summer, the Portland Trail Blazers have revolutionized their team, and are currently sitting at 21-4, which is good for the NBA’s best record. The Blazers added Robin Lopez over the summer, and the improvement he has brought the defense in lieu of last year’s dreadful starter J.J. Hickson, has been enough to transform Portland on that end of the court.
Offense has also come very easily for Portland, and the Blazers lead the league with 107.9 points per game. LaMarcus Aldridge is posting 23.5 points per game and reigning rookie of the year Damian Lillard is averaging 20.1 points.
The Blazers still don’t have an overabundance df depth, but C.J. McCollum should fortify the second unit when he returns from injury. McCollum is the highly touted lottery pick of Lehigh, and the Blazers felt compelled to chance it on him after striking gold with a similar prospect in Lillard, who also attended a mid-major school.
Cleveland fell 114-107 to Miami on Saturday night and is just 9-14 on the season. However, given the weak state of the Eastern Conference, the Cavs can still count in their playoff chances. Andrew Bynum is still seeing limited minutes, and the Cavs have been weak on the interior with Anderson Varejao not yet at full-speed either. First overall draft pick Anthony Bennett has apparently been rendered a huge bust, and he’s seldom seeing the court, averaging just 2.2 points per game on the season. Dion Waiters is on the block already, too, which means two consecutive lottery busts for the Cavs. Waiters will not play in tonight’s contest.
The main token of course in Cleveland is Kyrie Irving, and the Cavs are going to have cap room. The hope of many is of course that LeBron James has it in his heart to return to Ohio, and that may not be as illogical as it was once thought to be. A good closing chapter for James may be to bring the Cavs a title or two and a chance to be in the limelight he took with him when he left for South Beach. For the meantime, the Cavs are a middling team that really doesn’t have a lot of chemistry or direction.
Portland Trends: OVER 4-0 in last 4 road games vs teams with winning % greater than .600; 0-7 ATS in last 7 on Tuesday; 4-0 ATS in last 4 on 1 days rest.
Cleveland Trends: 4-0 ATS in last 4 Tuesday games; 4-0 ATS in last 4 overall; OVER 4-0 in last 4 following ATS win.
Head-to-head: OVER 4-0 in last 4 meetings in Cleveland; Blazers 3-0-1 ATS in last 4 in Cleveland; Blazers 3-1-1 ATS in last 5 overall.