Lillard's Absence to Impact Total in Blazers-Thunder Game

Blazers Thunder

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 3:26 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 3:26 PM UTC

The Blazers have been hit-or-miss offensively on the road, and Tuesday they will be without their best player in a tough defensive matchup against the Thunder. How does that affect our NBA picks?

Tuesday NBA: Trail Blazers vs. Thunder

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Free NBA Pick: Under 207Best Line Offered: Bovada

Hopefully for the Blazers, Damian Lillard will not be out long. However, the usually durable point guard will be missing his second straight game -- and eighth overall this season -- Tuesday against the Thunder.

In their first meeting this season, Lillard exploded for 36 points and 13 assists in a 103-99 win. But now that the Thunder have gotten a lot better on both ends, this outcome will likely not be in Portland’s favor on the road as +8 underdogs. However, it’s the total of 207 that has my attention for my NBA picks, mostly because Lillard's absence is going to make this offense stagnant. According to NBA Wowy, the Blazers’ offensive rating drops from 111.0 to 104.5 with Lillard off the court this season.

In the first meeting between these two teams in November, Jusuf Nurkic and C.J. McCollum combined for 47 points for Portland, but this Thunder team has improved a lot on defense since that game. OKC owns a defensive rating of 101.6 points allowed per 100 possessions at home; coincidentally, the Blazers own the same defensive rating on the road.

Even though the loss of Lillard hurts, it makes the under on the NBA odds board that much more appealing. It would not surprise me to see one or both these teams fall below 100 points.

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