Jordan’s NBA Picks: 78-57-1 (Playoffs 24-19-1)
Portland (61-33 SU & 51-43 ATS) at Golden State (65-29 SU & 40-53 ATS)
Tuesday, 9:00 PM EST, ESPN
Free NBA Pick: Blazers ATS
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
Both Teams Far From 100 Percent
Not only is Kevin Durant out for Game 1 and probably Game 2 as well, but it was announced earlier on Tuesday morning that DeMarcus Cousins will not return during the Western Conference Finals.
Portland still doesn’t know the status of Rodney Hood for tonight either. Hood hyperextended his knee in Game 7 of the second round series against the Nuggets and he is officially questionable for Game 1.
While I’m still picking the Warriors to win the series, they will not have an easy time with the Blazers. A team that good playing on house money is a dangerous opponent. Portland has a viable counter for the Warriors’ frontcourt and without Durant serving as the x-factor, all it takes is for Portland’s role players outplaying the now very in-experienced Warriors bench rotation.
Now that Andre Iguodala is starting, the Warriors have very little firepower off the bench. That may be evened up some if Hood can’t play in Game 1, but if he is good to go, he and Seth Curry have been money off the Blazers bench. Add in the unheralded Zach Collins and the Blazers have the better bench in this series because of all of Golden State’s injuries.
The Sharp Pick
As soon as I heard about the Durant news I took the Blazers +8 on Monday and I’m doing the same thing with the 7.5 line we have for Game 1. Portland is probably not going to win the series, but with the injuries considered, this is a lot closer game that 7.5 or 8 points.
If the Blazers’ two guards are matching or even giving Portland 80 percent of the production of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Blazers could win a game or two while Durant is on the shelf.
I do think Durant will return soon for the Dubs though, so while it’s tempting, I’m not ready to take Portland more than just a slight hedge on my other series bets on the WCF.
That being said, the Blazers’ best chance of stealing home court advantage is in Game 1. Hopefully Hood plays and it gives them some more juice, but take the points and I’m also leaning over, but the line has been hit hard lately, so the better value is with Portland.
Final Score Prediction: Blazers 109 – Warriors 114