Tonight we will see 2 of the top 5 teams in the West playing against each other at Moda Center, the home of Trail Blazers.
Oklahoma City Thunder are currently 2nd in the West with a great overall record of 24-13, they are however 3-2 in the last 5 games played. In the course of those 5 games, Thunder has lost to Houston Rockets (113:109), Dallas Mavericks (105:103) and won against Phoenix Suns (102:118), Dallas Mavericks in a rematch (122:102) and most recently against LA Lakers (100:107). In away games, Oklahoma is 11-9, which is the 3rd best away record in the West. The last match against Lakers was quite close, with teams only separated by 2 points by the end of the first 2 quarters (57:59). In the course of first 48 minutes, we have seen a total of 11 lead changes, however, it was Oklahoma who stepped into the 3rd quarter 2 points in front of Lakers. In the 3rd quarter, Lakers managed to close the gap and got into a lead, ending the quarter 4 points in front of the visiting team. In the last quarter, Oklahoma was a better team, as they shot with 40.7% accuracy from the field while Lakers hit only 28.6% of their shots. This resulted in Oklahoma grabbing back the lead at the start of the quarter and did not let go of it for the remainder of the match. Final score: 100:107.
The home side, Portland Trail Blazers are currently 5th in the West with an overall record of 22-16. Looking at their last 5 games, they have lost to Utah Jazz (117:96), Golden State Warriors (105:115) and won against Golden State Warriors in their 1st match (109:110)(OT), Philadelphia 76ers (129:95) and most recently against Sacramento Kings (108:113)(OT). The last match against Kings went into overtime due to Kings managing to close the gap of 6 points in the last quarter. Portland was the better side in the 1st half of the match, leading by up to 14 points, however, their lead was lost in the last 2 quarters due to their poor shooting. Despite that, Portland was once again better than kings in the Overtime, holding Kings at 9.1 FG% while scoring 33.3% of the shots themselves. The Overtime ended 5:10 for Portland and with that the final score showed 108:113.
This match will be important for these two teams and their playoffs race. Both of the teams have won 7 out of their last 10 games, however, we could argue Portland had tougher opponents leading to this match. Oklahoma has been performing well against Lakers despite underwhelming performances of their star player Rusell Westbrook who scored only 14 points, still, I do believe their real test will be tonight. As for missing players, Oklahoma will be missing Abrines and Robertson. As for Portland, their losses were arguably a result of their poor 3pt defending. On average, Portland allows their opponents to score 37% of their 3pt attempts which is the 4th worst record in the league. That issue was clearly seen in the matches against GSW and Utah Jazz, who perform well from behind the arc. However going into this next match, Thunder is far from good when it comes to 3pt scoring, with only an average of 9.6 3-pointers scored per game. In addition, Oklahoma is the worst team when it comes to hitting 3pt shots (32%). With that, I believe Oklahoma will try to score points from the paint, where Portland has players who can defend well. In addition, the match will be played at Moda Center, which is known to be a tough place for visiting teams to win. In conclusion, with the line set at only -1, we will be backing Portland to win this one.
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers to win
Odds: 1.95 5Dimes