Western Conference Game 2 Playoff Picks: Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors
Portland at Golden State
Time: 9:30 PM (CT) TNT
Spread: GSW -13.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Golden State Warriors defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 121-109 in Game 1. The Warriors will now host Portland for Game 2 at 9:30 PM (Central) on TNT. NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes have set the line 13.5 points in favor of the Warriors, with a high over/under of 220 points for the game. Given that the teams combined for 230 in Game 1, it would seem prudent to bet on this being another ‘over,’ especially since the Trail Blazers are not known for its defensive acumen, and the Warriors are so fine-tuned at just the right time. Damian Lillard may be a problem for Stephen Curry on the defensive end, but a realistic way to look at this series is that it is a showdown of two superstars (Lillard and 2-guard C.J. McCollum) against four (Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green).
The Dubs simply have too much firepower and too many weapons to be slowed by a team like Portland. While the Blazers certainly have done a masterful job of rebuilding around Lillard following the departure of franchise forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the supporting cast is rather young and unproven. It also hardly helps that the newly-acquired center Jusuf Nurkic is still questionable, and he did not play in Game 1.
Nurkic is one of the primary reasons Portland was able to surge late in the season to overcome the Denver Nuggets and make the postseason. While his status is crucial to the Blazers’ fate, even with the double-double machine playing the Blazers are still badly outmatched by a loaded Dubs team.
The Warriors are considering holding Kevin Durant out of this contest, though. He strained his calf in Game 1, and Golden State is wise enough to know it does not really need his services to knock off the Blazers in the opening round. He is officially listed as questionable, and it is unlikely that the Warriors give any real update until game time, so bettors can enter this game with a little weariness given that his status does affect whether Golden State can cover the 13.5-point spread. To be sure, Golden State can win without him, as they won 13-straight games while he nursed his knee injury late in the season. But the spread will be a very tricky bet not knowing whether or not K.D. plans to play in this game or not.
Portland’s best chance to upset the Warriors really lies not in Lillard’s performance, anyway. C.J. McCollum scored 41 points on 16 of 28 shooting, and for all the billing Thompson receives as a “plus defender,” he has yet to really prove that he deserves that title against elite offensive threats. He had no answer for McCollum. Problematic for the Blazers, though, is that the Dubs held a plus-7 advantage on the boards, and Nurkic is really the only cure for that shortcoming. If Portland is to sneak even a game or two in this series, it needs Nurkic healthy and dominant—particularly since the 5-spot is Golden State’s Achilles’ heel, if there indeed is one.
Also instrumental in this series will be the second units, and Portland not really having much of one to speak of. The Blazers got just nine points from its bench on a collective 3 of 14 shooting performance while the Warriors were able to gather 22 points from its reserves. Unless Shabazz Napier rediscovers his UConn mojo, or Meyers Leonard plays something close to his supposed potential, Portland will fall apart in second quarters. Portland held strong in the second quarter of Game 1, but only by playing its starters excessive minutes. Come the fourth quarter, those key players were tired and the Warriors had energy aplenty to win the final quarter 33-21, which accounted for the difference in the game’s final score.