|2 POR (-110) @ williamhill|
My 10* PERFECT STORM is on the Por Blazers at 10:05 ET.
The Golden State Warriors owned the NBA's worst record (15-50) last season, after appearing in five straight Finals (winning three titles). However, the Warriors have been one of the NBA's "surprise" teams this season, as they are currently 19-16 (No. 8 seed in the West). Portland opened a disappointing 12-10 this season but then ripped off SIX straight wins (Feb 9-18) to reach 18-10. However, a four-game slide followed, before the Blazers ended their skid with a 123-111 home win over Charlotte on Monday. Each team will be playing the first of two consecutive games to close the NBA's first half. The 19-14 Trail Blazers (current No. 6 seed) will remain home to play Sacramento on Thursday, while the 19-16 Warriors will move on to Phoenix.
The Warriors visit Portland off an 'ugly' 117-91 road loss at the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Head coach Steve Kerr called the game "his club's worst effort of the season!" Golden State fell behind 41-21 after the first quarter and never made the game competitive. "There's going to be a handful of games every year that are sort of inexplicable, and this is one you don't spend too much time on," Kerr said. "You flush the toilet, and you move on." Looking for some good news, while Draymond Green sprained an ankle in the second quarter and did not return, he will play Wednesday night according to Kerr. Green plays "wherever needed," leading the team in rebounds (6.0) and assists (8.5). The trio of Curry (29.5-5.4-6.4) , Wiggins (17.1 & 4.5) and Oubre (15.5 & 5.9) have been "constants" but it's sure good news that the team's No. 1 pick from last season's (No. 2 overall pick) is finally back. The 7-1 Wiseman has averaged 11.5 & 4.8 in the last four games, VERY close to his season averages of 12.0 & 5.9). Depth has been provided by the 6-8 Paschall (10.2) plus veteran guards Bazemore (6.5 ) and Lee (6.3).
The Blazers have endured the past 20 games without CJ McCollum (26.7-3.9-5.0), whose fractured foot will be re-evaluated this week. Lillard (29.6-4.3-8.1), as usual. leads the way but he was held to a modest 23 points in the win over Charlotte. However, Carmelo Anthony (13.6) turned back the clock with six 3-pointers and 29 points off the bench, while PF. Robert Covington (7.7 & 6.5) added 21 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) plus Gary Trent Jr. 17 points came up big. Trent is averaging 15.5 PPG on the season and has done an excellent job of mitigating the loss of McCollum. The same can be said of center Enes Kanter, who is averaging 11.6 & 11.5 on the season, helping ease the loss of starting center Nurkic (9.8 & 7.7), who hasn't played since Jan 14.
These teams split one-sided games in an NBA-style doubleheader early in the season in San Francisco. Damian Lillard led a three-point assault with 6-for-10 accuracy from beyond the arc in a 123-98 Trail Blazers win on Jan 1, while the Warriors rebounded with a 137-122 triumph two nights later behind Stephen Curry's 62 points. The victor tonight becomes a '20-game winner' and I'm betting Curry 'under' 62 points and taking the Blazers in the game. After all, Portland was a road favorite in both of those early January games in San Francisco but is now a small home dog??