The Thunder are no longer the favourites to win their first-round playoff series with the Trail Blazers – but that might change with a little good health as the teams square off Tuesday at Moda Center.
The host Trail Blazers pulled out a 104-99 triumph in Game 1, thanks in part to a poor shooting performance from Thunder superstar Paul George – but he says he’s feeling better, which could spell trouble for Portland.
NBA Playoffs Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Blazers opened as high as -2.5 in some spots, but with word that George – who averaged 28.0 points per game during the season – hopes to be less encumbered by his ailing right shoulder, that number has shrunk. But even with George feeling (and presumably playing) better, the Thunder have struggled of late with just four covers in their previous 18 games against Western Conference opponents.
A low-scoring Game 1 played a role in oddsmakers setting the Game 2 total at 218 – 6.5 points lower than the opener. But it has quickly been bet up to 223, with both sides expected to clean things up on the offensive end after the Trail Blazers and Thunder shot 41.9 and 39.8 percent, respectively, on Sunday. And with Portland having gone 15-5-1 to the over in its previous 21 home games, it’s no surprise that the total is now more in line with the Game 1 number.
Oklahoma City Thunder
For as uncharacteristically subpar as George was in Game 1, Dennis Schroeder was even more of a liability. The backup point guard shot just 5-of-17 from the field while missing all seven of his 3-point attempts – the signature performance in a 5-for-33 team success rate from beyond the arc. Ball distribution was also a problem for the Thunder in Game 1: they had just 18 assists on 37 made shots, with Russell Westbrook responsible for 10 of them.
Portland Trail Blazers
There was a great deal of concern in Portland when starting center Jusuf Nurkic was lost for the season with multiple compound leg fractures. But the Trail Blazers appear to have found an answer, at least for one game. Enes Kanter was sensational in his 34-minute stint against his former team, piling up 20 points, 18 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Kanter, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined to score 74 of Portland’s 101 points in the win.