Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors Pick – Game 1
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors Western Conference Finals Game 1 Preview and Pick
When: Tuesday, May 14, 9:00PM ET
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
TV: ESPN (DirecTV 206)
Point Spread: Por +8/GS -8 (Opened at -8)
Total: 219.5 (Opened at 218.5)
Money Line: Blazers +267/Warriors -230
Series Price: Port +370/GSW -440
Power Rating: Golden State Warriors -8
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
Blazers vs. Warriors… Say What?
These two teams weren’t supposed to be here… The Blazers lost Jusuf Nurkic to a broken leg. Then, they were in bad shape home-court-advantage-wise against the Nuggets who had the best home record in the league. Furthermore, Portland got down HUGE in the first half of game 7. The red hot Rodney Hood buckled his knee and had to leave the game. An inconsistent Evan Turner takes his minutes and silently plays a huge role in a massive comeback. Zach Collins goes back to back games with a ton of swats. Damian Lillard shakes Torrey Craig and Gary Harris “D” for a couple huge open shots and BAM! The unthinkable happens. Old school Blazers fans witness lickety brindle up the middle, bingo-bango-bongo and RIP CITY in a fashion that had many clamoring that this Blazer squad had just surpassed their beloved Clyde, Porter, Uncle Cliffy, Buck Williams, and Mercy Kersey team as their most favorite ever. They had pulled off a “Mile High Miracle”.
Golden State lost Demarcus Cousins before the playoffs even started and then Kevin Durant went down in game 5, leaving many to wonder if the Warriors had enough to get past a hungry Rockets squad. GS went into Houston for Game 6 in what many thought (me included) was a lock win for the Rockets. But the unthinkable happened… The Warriors won straight up as Curry shot the lights out in Houston in one of the sickest second-half efforts in NBA playoff history. Warriors win, game over, no more Beard ’til October.
What excitement will the Portland/Golden State series produce? Who should you bet on in Game 1 and who is going to win the series? Will the Por/GS series be high scoring or low scoring? Let’s take a look at a handful of variables in an effort to gain an edge vs. the bookies.
Nobody is Giving Portland a Chance to Win the Series (Warriors -440)
That’s what “they” said about getting past Paul George and Russell Westbrook. That’s what “they” said about getting past Nikola Jokic. Do you think this team really gives a rats ass about expectations? Do you think that just because Golden State went into Houston and beat the Rockets in game 6 that they’re going to run the table? Do you realize how INSANE Steph Curry’s second half was in game 6? His 33 points in 22 second-half minutes were one of the best showings in NBA HISTORY. The chances of replicating that effort are slim-to-none. He’ll surely play well, but it took nothing short of a miracle to pull off what he accomplished. Are bettors forgetting Kevin Durant is likely to miss at least the first two games, if not the whole series? These teams tied 2-2 in the regular season, and the Blazers won the season series 2-1 last year. Portland has a shot. Don’t let your lack of watching their games and lack of familiarity skew your perception. The difference between a winning bettor and a losing better is the ability to decipher what SHOULD happen, versus what CAN happen. Yes, Golden State has crushed Portland’s playoff hopes in the past. Just because it rained yesterday doesn’t mean it’s going to rain today. Way different variables in play here.
Western Conference Finals Expectations
C.J. McCollum made some new fans and earned a ton of respect by torching the Nuggets, but don’t expect the same in the GSW series. Klay Thompson is a legit defender and will likely give CJ3 problems. In 4 regular season games vs. the Warriors, the Blazer shooting guard only hit 36.6% of his shots. McCollum has had some success from beyond the arc though, hitting 3+ three-point field goals in seven of his last nine games vs. Golden State.
A player that is likely to “get his” in this series is Damian Lillard. He has seemingly always stepped up his game vs. the Best Team in the West. The Blazers PG averaged a healthy 28 points a game in four meetings this season and has averaged 30 points per game in nine playoff games vs. GS.
On the flip side of the Lillard matchup is Steph Curry, who will undoubtedly also “get his” as he’ll get more touches due to Durant being out. Torching the Blazers is nothing new as he’s averaged 28.7 vs. Portland in 3 games played this season. Even more impressive, is that he’s hit 5 three-pointers in eight of his last ten games vs. PDX. Klay Thompson should also do well against Portland with the extra looks and a size advantage over C.J. McCollum.
As you’re probably aware, Kevin Durant is OUT for game 1. He too had success vs. Portland averaging 28.8 points per game vs. Portland. The team will be hard-pressed to replace even 3/4 of Durant’s production.
How the Blazers Can Win
Believe it or not, Portland (3rd) is a better rebounding team than Golden State (11th). And that was with Durant’s boards figured in.
Damian Lillard will have to have continued success vs. Golden St. He’s a prime time player who seemingly always responds well to being in the spotlight.
Enes Kanter had 16 boards in 22 minutes vs. GS earlier this season. He’ll pose problems for the Warriors front line. He’s big, quick around the hoop, has a nose for the ball and has a soft touch near the basket.
Overplay Curry/Thompson and force the other Warriors to beat them.
Win at least one game at Oracle Arena. The team managed to take down OKC while away and beat Denver TWICE at Mile High. These guys aren’t scared of road games.
How the Warriors Can Win
Steph Curry and Co. are simply the best passing team in the league. They’re notorious for utilizing screens and finding the open man. Despite having many stars, the team is very unselfish.
By taking advantage of their home court advantage where they were 34-13 in the regular season. Golden State gets four shots at home. Portland only gets three.
By feeding Klay Thompson a ton. He has a huge advantage over McCollum.
The Golden State Warriors have won the NBA’s Western Conference the past four seasons. Three of which they went on to win the NBA Championship.
The Warriors blew out Portland earlier this season 125-97 WITHOUT Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
The one-seed Warriors have eliminated the Blazers in 2 of Portland’s last 3 playoff appearances, winning 8 of 9 games.
The Portland Trail Blazers haven’t been in the Western Conference Finals in nearly 20 years.
Damian Lillard is from Oakland and plays exceptionally well at Oracle.
On a podcast with C.J. McCollum, Kevin Durant laughed about the possibility of the Blazers being a championship team.
Seth and Stephen Curry are the first pair of brothers to face each other in an NBA Conference Finals game.
This series will play every other day at the same time (9PM ET) on ESPN.
How the Public is Betting the Blazers/Warriors Game
The point spread is receiving somewhat even action with 52% leaning to Portland getting +8 points.
The public loves the over as 67% are expecting a high scoring game.
Blazers: Jusuf Nurkic will miss the series with a broken leg. Rodney Hood is doubtful with a bone bruise in his left knee.
Warriors: Demarcus Cousins has been out and will continue to be out with a left quad. Kevin Durant will miss with a calf injury.
- The Warriors are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up win.
- The Warriors are 1-4 against the spread in their last 5 home games.
- The GSW are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- The UNDER is 5-0 in the Warriors last 5 Conference Finals game.
- Under is 12-5 in the Warriors last 17 home games.
Kevin West’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The Warriors have played pretty good basketball in Kevin Durant’s absence. I looked back a couple years, and they hardly missed a beat. With that being said, I’m making a VERY small bet on the Blazers at +8. I believe Enes Kanter has a huge advantage down low and that’ll be the difference. I have zero clue on who wins this game, but I think Portland can hang close and stay within 8 points for the cover.