Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers, Rose Garden, Portland, OR
Friday, April 1, 2011, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: FSOK, CSNW
Opening Line: Blazers -2
Current Line: Blazers -2.5
Opening Total: 190.5
Current Total: 190.5
Money Line: Blazers -140 / Thunder +120
The Oklahoma City Thunder (50-24) will look to extend their five-game winning streak and beat the Portland Trail Blazers (43-32) for a fourth straight time on Friday in this Northwest Division matchup. The Thunder (-2.5) just completed their best month in team history at 14-2 and have an outside shot at the third seed in the Western Conference playoff race after Dallas lost on the road to the Los Angeles Lakers 109-92 Thursday night.
Oklahoma City must play five of the next seven games on the road though starting in Portland, where the team has won in two of its last three trips. Two of the three meetings this season have been decided by two points or less, including a 107-106 overtime victory for the Thunder back on November 4. James Harden was instrumental in the win, as he converted a 3-point play in overtime that gave his team the lead for good. Harden finished with seven points in 25 minutes off the bench while Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant led the way with 28 points apiece.
Harden came up big again on Wednesday in a 116-98 rout of Phoenix, scoring 22 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the field. Durant also had 22 points while Westbrook added 16 and dished out eight assists. Oklahoma City improved to 22-14 straight-up on the road with the victory and owns a five-game lead over Denver for the division lead.
The Trail Blazers are in a much more competitive race for playoff positioning with the New Orleans Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies but also have a chance at the fifth seed. They are tied with the Hornets for sixth place, one game ahead of the Grizzlies and 2.5 behind the Denver Nuggets.
Portland could have moved even closer to Denver but lost 95-91 at New Orleans on Wednesday to complete a three-game road trip at 1-2 both SU and against the spread. The first game of that trip was a 99-90 loss to the Thunder despite Gerald Wallace’s season-high 40 points. Wallace has scored just 14 in each of the last two games and is nursing a hand injury.
The OVER has cashed in three of the last four games for both teams along with three of the past four in the series. Oklahoma City is averaging 109.4 points in its last five games after failing to break the century mark in the previous three games. The Blazers have scored more than 100 points just once in their last six games.
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