Featured Video from Scott Reichel
The Oklahoma City Thunder are hoping to avoid a 3-0 series hole against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Blazers in full command of the series
Heading into the first-round series against the Thunder, there was plenty of chatter that the Blazers would be overwhelmed in the matchup due to injuries to key players on their roster. However, that has not been the case for the team having pushed forward for strong performances on their home floor in each of the first two games of the series in what both have been convincing outings from them to grab early control of the matchup. This has seen their dynamic backcourt lead the way offensively helping push them toward this promising position heading into Game 3 on Friday night. It has seen All-Star point guard Damian Lillard take head on the challenge of going up against Russell Westbrook in what has become a personal rivalry between both star guards that has seen the former grab the edge. It has brought the best of Lillard, who is playing some of the best basketball of the season as he has been the top offensive talent in the series.
Dame to CJ 🔥🔥
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 17, 2019
Through the first two games, Lillard is averaging 29.5 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor and 47.8 percent from beyond the arc. There is an obvious personal motivation to this series as Lillard has stepped to the plate with his game as he has hit crucial shots with much of hat coming from beyond the arc hitting nine 3-points combined in the first contest of the series. His production will continue to be a determining factor in how things play out for the Blazers. Meanwhile, guard CJ McCollum has stepped up with his production averaging 28.5 points on 46.0 percent shooting from the floor and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc along with 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. McCollum is coming off dropping 33 points in Game 2 that was pivotal in helping Portland overcome a second-half deficit. Ultimately, if the Blazers hope to potentially grab a 3-0 series lead it’s going to need their backcourt to step it up once again with strong performances on the road in what will be a tough environment on Friday night.
Thunder hoping to grab critical win in Game 3
It has been nothing short than a rough start to the first-round playoff series against the Blazers as the Thunder have fallen a quick 2-0 series hole. Oklahoma City has struggled to find any type of fluidity on the court as the bulk of that has come in the way of their offensive shortcomings. They have been unable to match the production from Portland with their star power being at the forefront of these issues. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook has struggled to find his footing in his matchup against Lillard as he has come up on the short end of things. All of this came to a head in Game 2 as although he nearly posted a triple-double, Westbrook shot just 25.0 percent from the floor and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc while committing six turnovers in the loss. His lack of consistency offensively has played a major part in how things have seemingly played out against the Blazers with them grabbing command of the series.
Paul George in Game 2
• 27 points
• 8 rebounds pic.twitter.com/ih5VMRHBWR
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) April 17, 2019
On top of that, All-Star forward Paul George has continued to work through a shoulder injury that has hampered him over the last several weeks. George has voiced that it isn’t bothering him on the court at this point, but it is an underlying factor on how things have played out. He has been able to prove that with his play up through this point as he has averaged 26.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor. He has notched more than 25 points in each of the first two games of the series that has helped provide the Thunder with much-needed offensive stability in the process. This will be a major factor in Game 3 as Oklahoma City looks to get back into the series and avoid a dire situation. It does help that the Thunder have been strong at home this season holding a 27-14 mark that should help them right the ship on their home floor and give them hope that they can get back into the win column. This will need their star power in George and Westbrook to lead the charge if they hope to come out on top on Friday night.
- Thunder are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games playing on two day’s rest.
- Trail Blazers are 9-24-2 ATS in their last 35 Conference Quarterfinals games.
- Trail Blazers are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games against a team with a winning home record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Although the Blazers have had full control of the series up to this point, some home cooking for the Thunder should be lined up. It’s a chance for them to put forth a statement performance that gives them life. Keep in mind, the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between both squads.
Prediction: Oklahoma City -7.5
Full-Game Total Pick
This may be a chance for the Thunder to bounce back in a major way on their home floor, they have had their struggles offensively while both teams haven’t necessarily blown the lid off offensively collectively combining for 208 and 203 points collective in each of the first two games of the series. It should be noted that under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings between both squads.
Prediction: Under 221.5