Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
The Portland Trailblazers are situated third in the Western Conference, trailing first seeded Oklahoma City by 1.5 games. The Blazers have won its past two contests and travel to face Golden State at one of the toughest road venues in the NBA. The Warriors are just 12-7 at home but will be 5.5-point favorites over LaMarcus Aldridge and the Blazers.
Both Aldridge and second-year point guard Damian Lillard can draw inspiration from being snubbed as All-Star starters. The Blazers have been a surprise team thus far and Lillard was even endorsed by Kobe Bryant as the rightful starter. Lillard is averaging 20.8 points, 5.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game while Aldridge is easily out-producing Blake Griffin with averages of 24.6 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.
The Blazers may be slow in getting respect, but with the aforementioned tandem and good role players in Nicolas Batum, Wes Matthews and Robin Lopez, the Blazers could still be contenders. Defensively, the team will need to intensify its efforts a lot, as its doubtful Portland could advance to the Western Conference Finals with a bottom-third defensive efficiency rating.
Golden State will have a first time All-Star starter in Stephen Curry. Curry has been sensational this season and is averaging 23.8 points and 9.3 assists per game. His backcourt mate Klay Thompson has been a potent shooter, and is averaging 19.1 points per game.
Most impressively, Thompson has shown a great ability to defend perimeter scorers one-on-one, something that Andre Iguodala excels at. The Warriors need to utilize the strength of its perimeter defense because with a strong anchor in Andrew Bogut, the Warriors could eventually be the type of unit defensively that Mark Jackson has been trying to develop.
The Warriors also strengthened its depth by adding Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks via trade. Brooks likely will not play much of a role, but Crawford is a strong playmaker and good shooter who will enable Curry to get some rest. To-date, Curry is averaging 38 minutes per game and ideally that should be 35-36 minutes per game. Thompson, too, is seeing 37 minutes per game, so the need for a third guard in the rotation was definitely worth addressing.
POR Trends: OVER 4-0 in last 4 Sunday games; 1-4 ATS in last 5 following SU win of 10 or more points; 8-2 ATS in last 10 when starting five combines for 160 minutes or more on previous day.
GSW Trends: OVER 3-0-1 in last 4 home games vs teams with road winning percentages greater than .600; 0-4 ATS in last 4 home games vs teams with road winning percentages greater than .600; 0-4 ATS in last 4 home games.
Head-to-head: OVER 4-1 in last 5 meetings; OVER 4-1 in last 5 meetings in Golden State; Trail Blazers 4-13 ATS in last 17 meetings in Golden State.