Portland Trailblazers vs. Utah Jazz
NBA Point Spread Pick: Blazers +8.5 points (February 15th 2017)
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The Utah Jazz have dropped three on the bounce and put up a really pathetic performance in Monday’s 88-72 loss to the Clippers. The Jazz recorded a season worst for points and shooting percentage (32.2) and are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up loss and just 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games.
Tonight they’ll take on a Portland Trail Blazers side that hasn’t played well lately either, dropping four of its last five games. The Blazers are 0-5 ATS during that span, but they’ve won three straight head-to-head meetings with Utah the they’re 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings at Vivint Smart Home Arena. This is way too many points to give the Blazers, and I think they’ll keep this a close game.
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Detroit Pistons vs. Portland Trailblazers
NBA Prediction: Portland -2.5 (January 7th 2017)
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All-Star PG Damian Lillard (26.8-4.5-6.3) had missed Portland’s previous five games with a sprained left ankle but returned in the Blazers’ 118-109 home victory over the LA Lakers on Thursday. He played 36 minutes, contributing 21 points and 10 assists. Lillard’s backcourt partner, C.J. McCollum (23.3), had scored 43 and 35 points in the previous two games while running the point in Lillard’s absence but moved back to his normal shooting guard position and collected 27 points and seven assists in Thursday’s win. “Makes the game much easier when Dame’s on the floor,” said McCollum. “The defense can’t key in on me as much when he’s out there.”
The Pistons arrive in Portland off Thursday’s 115-114 home victory over Charlotte, a game the Hornets almost ‘stole,’ roaring back with a 44-point fourth quarter. Despite trailing by 19 points with just 10 minutes left,finest hour but it was a win. “We played a great three quarters,” Detroit head coach Stan Van Gundy said afterward. “I’ll talk about that.” In particular, Van Gundy wanted to talk about the 7-3 Boban Marjanovic, who came out of nowhere with a season high in points (15) and a career high in rebounds (19) in 22 minutes off the bench. Backup center Aron Baynes was out with an ankle sprain and starter Andre Drummond got in foul trouble, which gave Marjanovic his opening (note: he had scored just seven points and grabbed seven rebounds in the previous seven games and averages just 3.3 PPG and 3.0 RPG on the season).
The Blazers are just 3-3 their last six but also 5-1 ATS. The Pistons are not a good road team, going 7-12 SU and ATS so far this season, while averaging just 98.7 PPG away from home. With Lillard back, lay the VERY small number with Portland.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trailblazers
NBA Point Spread Pick: Dallas +5.5 points (December 21st 2016)
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I can do this write-up in a single sentence: Portland has no business laying points right now. The Blazers are the single worst defensive team in the NBA right now, according to Hollinger’s advanced metric stats, allowing a whopping 111 points per 100 possessions.
A playoff team last year, this season, Portland has fallen apart. They lost their third straight game last night, blowing a lead at Sacramento, now losers of seven of their past eight. They’ve allowed 115+ in six of those seven defeats. Yet the quotes coming out of the Blazers locker room don’t seem to indicate that they are particularly concerned.
Point guard Damian Lilliard: “It’s way too early (to be too concerned). I completely understand our defensive numbers and how up and down we’ve been. But we have plenty of time to turn this thing around.”
Meanwhile the Mavs are getting healthier – much healthier – following an injury riddled first two months of the season. Dallas has their full backcourt for the first time all season, with Deron Williams, Devin Harris, JJ Barea and Wesley Matthews all suiting up on Monday. Barea: “Now everybody’s ready to go. It’s something we didn’t have early in the year….I want to see us all together and see if we can make a run. You never know what can happen. I see this team working hard and trying to win as many games as we can, no matter what.” Live dog here! Take the Mavericks