Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers Game 3 Pick
Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers Western Conference Finals Game 3 Pick (Warriors lead series 2-0)
When: Saturday, May 18th, 9:00PM ET
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
TV: ESPN (DirecTV 206)
Point Spread: Golden St +2.5/Portland -2.5
Money Line: GS +120/Port -140 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Power Rating: Warriors -2
Probable Starting Lineups
Blazers: PG Damian Lillard, SG C.J. McCollum, SF Maurice Harkless, PF Al-Farouq Aminu, C Enes Kanter.
Warriors: PG Stephen Curry, SG Klay Thompson, SF Andre Iguodala PF Draymond Green C Andrew Bogut
Processing Game 2
Portland came out gunning with confidence Thursday at Oracle which produced a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
At about the six-minute mark in the 2nd quarter, Portland held a slim lead, and it was feeling like Golden State was going to make a run, but instead, Portland ended up going up by 15 to close out the half. It looked and felt like the Blazers had a legit shot at winning the game straight up.
As expected, Golden State came out of the locker room motivated. Despite Portland going up 17 and holding strong with the lead, things really fell apart at the nine-minute mark. It took all of four minutes to erase the lead and steal momentum. By the end of the third quarter, the score was tied, and you could feel the momentum swinging so much that you not only assumed the Warriors would run away with it, but that they were going to cover the spread easily as well.
To my surprise (and everybody else’s), the Blazers battled and built up a 108-100 lead at the 4:28 mark. That would be the last good thing that would happen to the team. Portland would only go on to score three more points in the game. Draymond Green ended up hitting a huge three with 12 seconds left to seal the victory.
On the one hand, I was happy to have covered the +7 I recommended in my Game 2 piece. On the other, I saw things in this game that make the series a bit tougher to handicap. I’ll expand on this below.
Some Things Happened in this Game 2 That I Simply Don’t Understand
Klay Thompson wasn’t guarding C.J. McCollum like he usually does. The result was CJ going off most of the game. Thompson often presents significant problems for the smaller 6’3″ guard from Lehigh.
Enes Kanter only played 19 minutes and was sluggish. Whether that was because it’s the Muslim Ramadan where he’s fasting and doesn’t eat or drink during daylight hours or simply not having the lateral quickness to deal with the Warriors pick and roll is beyond me. He should have been in at the end of the game when the Blazers couldn’t get a rebound. Absolutely baffling.
Terry Stotts had no rebounders in the game in the fourth quarter. Don’t you dare tell me Meyers Leonard is a big man. He breaks every rule of rebounding, including receiving the ball low and lacks the killer instinct. He’s a shooting guard trapped in a big man’s body.
Maurice Harkless is only 6’8″. Portland couldn’t board at all in the 4th quarter, and it ultimately cost them the game. They also lacked interior defense. Golden State was getting whatever they wanted down low. It was baffling to see this problem happen over and over and see Stotts leave Leonard on the court. I imagine Zach Collins may have been in had he not picked up 5 fouls in 7 minutes, another Stotts blunder. He left him in way longer than he should when he had foul problems and paid the ultimate price at the end of the game. At one point, I had to wonder why they didn’t give 6’11” Skal Labissierre a test run because Portland-could-not-board-at-all.
On the Bright Side
C.J. McCollum showed why the Blazers took him with the 10th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Portland didn’t look at all flat or lacking confidence. They believed they could win at Oracle and almost did.
Damian Lillard got his ball handling under control. He only turned the ball over two times in Game 2, opposed to seven miscues in Game 2. As a team, the Blazers had eight fewer turnovers than their last game.
As expected, the team shot better from the field. In Game 2, Portland shot 36.1% from the field (25% from 3) In Game 3, Portland was much more respectable at 44.2% (46% from 3!).
In 20 years of professionally forecasting games against the spread, I have never used the word “lock”, and I never will. Any team can beat any other team on any given night. With that being said, I really like Portland on the money line Saturday night. I was VERY surprised to see -2.5. I figured the game would come out at -5. The Blazers have shown they can hang with this team and in a raucous environment to boot.
Portland plays excellent basketball at home (37-10 SU) and as a favorite (45-11 SU). Golden State played well enough on the road to post a 31-16 straight up but didn’t win by much as evidenced by their 22-25 ATS road record. Another interesting note is that the Warriors were 4-6 straight up in the ten games in which they were an underdog.
Warriors: Kevin Durant will miss again with a calf strain. Reports are that he’s shown good progress, but not enough to work out on the court. Demarcus Cousins is also making progress and even doing on-court work but isn’t ready for game action. Word is that both will be re-evaluated in a week.
Portland: Jusuf Nurkic continues to be sidelined with a busted leg.
How the Public is Betting the Warriors/Blazers Game 3
- Sixty percent of bettors are laying the points with Portland.
- Fifty-eight percent are hitting the over 221.5.
The Blazers have won 3 of the last 4 games against GS at the Moda Center.
Portland has crushed GOOD teams at home as of late going 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games at the Moda Center vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
Portland has shown good bounce back going 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
The Warriors are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
This is kinda worthless/goofy but Golden St. is 4-10 ATS in their last 14 Saturday games.
Kevin’s Bet to Beat the Game 3 Point Spread
Portland played like crap and were in it most of Game 1, then played well and should have won Game 2. Now they go home to their friendly confines where they beat teams by 8 points on average. I know that sounds so simplistic, but that’s really all there is to it. Golden State has played well without Durant (historically), but they’re either just not elite right now or are missing him more than people think. The guys from the Bay aren’t playing world beater basketball right now. They’ve also been weak on D away from Oracle having allowed 47% or more in 2 of their last 3 road games.
I’m predicting that the Blazers win by 5 or more points Saturday, but will be betting the Portland money line rather than the spread for no other reason than Steph Curry is a freak of nature and anything is possible when he’s in a game. I know that’s chicken $@^% of me, but I’m not gonna lose by a point from some left-handed, half-court shot this cyborg muscle memory freak-ass puts up. See you at the cashier’s cage!