Jordan’s NBA Picks: 80-60-1, Playoffs 26-22-1
Golden State (68-29 SU & 42-54 ATS) at Portland (61-36 SU & 52-45 ATS)
Monday, 9:00 PM EST, ESPN
Free NBA Pick: Over 1H
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
We nailed the first half over in Game 3 of this series after the Blazers opened the game hot and finished it ice cold. Now with news of Damian Lillard’s injury, the totals have dropped a few points and the Warriors are solid road favorites.
Portland’s Last Effort
I give a lot of credit to Terry Stotts for trying to figure out a better playoff rotation in Game 3. It looked to have worked early on with Meyers Leonard coming in to start and helping the Blazers to a 13-point halftime lead.
I expect the Blazers will want to match that aggression and shot-making throughout the entirety of Game 4. At home and with their backs against the wall, you have to think that despite Lillard’s physical limitations, the Blazers still have the ability to score points in the first half.
While it appears that none of Lillard’s ribs are broken, separated ribs can be equally as painful. This is really troublesome for the Blazers because there is always the chance that they lay an egg here in Game 4 and get swept.
However, the Blazers’ depth at guard helps them a lot of Lillard can’t play at his usual abilities. Add in the home game and with the discounted price on the first half total, I’m going right back to the over in hopes of back-to-back cashes in Portland’s two home games.
The Sharp Pick
While it’s only a small three-game sample size, I think it’s worth noting that these two teams have really been pushing the pace in the first half. So far, the Blazers and Warriors are playing at a pace of 102.3 in the first halves of the Western Conference Finals.
Overall the Warriors have struggled offensively in the first half in this series. This has been especially true over the last two games where they allowed 65 and 66 first-half points.
I see no reason why that can’t continue for Portland at home, even with Lillard banged up. This could be especially true if Andre Iguodala can’t play.
Iguodala left Game 3 with a calf injury and without him, the Warriors are deadly thin on the wing. This could be a death sentence with trying to guard C.J. McCollum and Moe Harkless.
There is also the possibility that Golden State comes out on fire in this one, which would also help the first half over. They have a lot of motivation to sweep this series and get a much-needed nine days off before the start of the NBA Finals. With all their injuries, they are going to be more prepared offensively early in Game 4 than they have over the last two games.
Considering Portland has a 115 offensive rating in the last three first halves of this series, I don’t see Golden State suddenly getting better on defense without Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins.
The Warriors will still give up first-half points on the road and they could end up scoring a ton themselves in route to yet another NBA Finals berth.
First Half Score Prediction: Warriors 58 – Blazers 56