POR @ GSW
Warriors Lead 1-0
Spread: GSW -7.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Golden State Warriors must have missed the memo that losing Kevin Durant kills its title chances. Golden State improved to 30-1 without Durant with its Game 1 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, winning 116-94 in a game that was not ever close. Will Game 2 bring similar results? NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes do think so, setting the line 7.5-points in favor of the Dubs while the over/under is 218 points. The game will tip off at 8 PM (CT) on ESPN.
With Durant sidelined, Stephen Curry is taking his chance to remind everyone why he is the best point guard in the league, notwithstanding that Damian Lillard has made a strong case of his own. The Warriors backcourt got the best of the Blazers in the opener, though. Portland’s duo of CJ McCollum and Lillard shot just a combined 11 of 31 for 36 points. Meanwhile, Golden State milked Klay Thompson and Curry for a combined 62 points on 22 of 47 shooting. The highlighted matchup of this series was not particularly close, and Durant being out had plenty to do with it. Draymond Green also played a tremendous game, finishing +12 for his 34 minutes while posting 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and three blocks.
Outside of Green, Thompson, and Curry, the Warriors got few valuable contributions from others, but it failed to matter. The Dubs shot 50 percent from the floor in the game and even better from three— 17 of 33 (51.5 percent). Golden State simply cannot lose while shooting the ball this well, and all the concerns about Portland lacking the three-defense to slow Golden State appear valid through one game. Even with Portland winning the battle of the boards (+5) it was not enough—not with 21 team turnovers and a 36 percent mark from the field. Golden State showed its defensive prowess in that respect, and Golden State had 13 steals and eight blocks in the game, with every starter except Curry recording at least one blocked shot.
But it might be that Curry is just now gaining his bearings and traction with Durant out. It is easy to forget that the Warriors won 73-games in the season prior to Durant arriving. The notion that this team is actually better without its MVP is more valid than most would be willing to consider. Curry averaged 28.7 points, 5.7 assists, and 5.7 rebounds against the Blazers this year (three games) and over his last 10 games, he is shooting 50 percent from behind the arc while averaging 23.6 points. But Durant being out places Curry in the spotlight, and we are all well aware of the theatrics and brilliance he can produce from that position.
Curry has averaged 31.3 points per game over his last four games, dating back the final three games of the Houston series. He has saved his best ball for now, and even if Durant does not return this postseason, Steph and Klay still make the Dubs the prohibitive favorites in the Western Conference. Portland has had a nice run for itself, but the Warriors are the more talented team on paper; and in Game 1, also on the court. 56 percent of bettors at Covers are betting on the Warriors to cover the spread.
ATS TRENDS (c/o Covers):