NBA Odds: Stay On Clippers' Bandwagon In Game 2 vs. Blazers

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 12:34 AM GMT

It was a 1-1 mark for Game 1 between the Trail Blazers and Clippers as we hit on giving Portland 8 points but missed 'under' the total of 209. For Game 2, the Clips are -8.5 on NBA odds.

Blazers Back To Drawing Board?
Maybe there was just something in the air for all four playoff openers on Sunday. The Blazers lost 115-95, one of three underdogs that day to lose by at least 20 points. It was just the fourth postseason day in NBA history where at least three clubs lost by at least that much. It hadn't happened since May 8, 1999.

I would have won the total in that game as well if not for a garbage-time 3-pointer from Portland scrub Luis Montero with 22 seconds left. Damian Lillard led Portland with 21 points in the loss but was 7-for-17 from the field and had four turnovers. Portland was outscored by 22 points when Lillard was on the court. He has now scored at least 14 points in each of his first 17 career postseason games. He is one of 17 players in league history to accomplish that.

No other Blazers starter had more than 10 points. Backcourt mate C.J. McCollum, had just nine on 3-for-11 shooting. One of the Clippers’ main defensive moves was shifting 6-foot-8 small forward Luc Mbah a Moute to guard the 6-foot-3 McCollum. I had written for Sunday's preview that the Blazers had to totally dominate in the frontcourt to have a shot in this series because the Clippers are so much better up front. Instead, Lillard and McCollum combined weren't even as good as Clippers point guard Chris Paul. The Clippers defensively dared players other than Lillard and McCollum to beat them. Didn't happen. Portland was just 10-for-30 from 3-point range.

Portland coach Terry Stotts said there wouldn't be a massive game plan change for Game 2: "We're not going to reinvent ourselves in two days. Fundamentally, I don't think you change a lot. You change certain situations."

One thing being hinted at is relieving Lillard of guarding Paul at times to keep Lillard fresh on the offensive end. The Blazers have now lost Game 1 in seven of their past eight postseason series. Portland lost each of those previous series and is 3-26 all-time in playoff series when dropping Game 1. Portland is 15-16 in its history in 31 postseason games following a Game 1 loss.

Portland is now +675 on NBA odds to win the series.


 

Clippers Did Everything Right
Game 1 was very close until the Clippers closed the first half on an 11-2 run and then opened the third quarter with a 15-6 burst to seize control. Paul was fabulous in the opener for Los Angeles with 28 points, 11 assists and six rebounds -- or more rebounds than Lillard and McCollum had combined. The Clippers outscored the Blazers by 29 points with Paul on the court. Blake Griffin also was great with 19 points, 12 rebounds and six assists -- he dunked three times on  Portland big man Mason Plumlee. Griffin looked the best he has since returning from injury. Coach Doc Rivers raved about his "energy." All five of Griffin's field goals came near the rim and he created 12 free-throw chances (making nine)

DeAndre  Jordan added 18 points and 12 rebounds -- he was 8-for-18 from the line as the Blazers tried hacking him at times. Stotts started the strategy with 5:13 left and his team behind by 19 points. It didn't work. The bigger, stronger Clippers were had a 48-34 advantage on points in the paint, shooting 24-for-38 shooting from that area. The Clippers had a 48-40 rebounding edge, a 16-5 lead in second-chance points and blocked seven shots.

The Clippers shot 53.8 percent overall so it didn't matter they made just 6-for-17 from long range or  missed 14 free throws. The 17 3-pointers attempted tied for the second-fewest by the Clippers this season. They didn't need to fire away from out there because they were overpowering down low.

If Paul and Griffin keep playing like they did in Game 1, this series will be a sweep. And the Clippers have a shot at upsetting the Golden State Warriors in Round 2 if so as well. L.A. is now -900 on NBA picks to win the series.

 

NBA Free Picks
I'll give the points again and go 'over' as I think the Blazers will be better from 3-point range but still lose by 12 or so. The Clippers have covered four straight home games. Portland is 0-6-1 ATS in its past seven as a playoff dog of 5-10.5 points. The 'over' is 8-3 in the Blazers' past 11 as a dog overall. The 'over' is 7-2 in the Clippers' past nine as a favorite. 

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NBA Pick:  Blazers +8½ & Over 209 -105
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage