NBA Odds: Trail Blazers Expected To Cover In Game 3 vs. Clippers

Matthew Jordan

Friday, April 22, 2016 5:47 PM GMT

In Game 2 between the Clippers and Blazers, Portland was an 8.5-point underdog. Portland is still struggling in game 3. The Clips are -2 on the NBA odds and a total of 207.5.

Blazers Still Searching For Answers
Portland was an 8.5-point underdog for Game 2 on Wednesday night with a total of 209. The Clippers followed their 20-point Game 1 win (which went 'over' the total on a garbage bucket at the end) with a 102-81 victory to take a 2-0 lead. Perhaps having two days off in between games and a return home will make this series competitive because as things stand, it looks like a potential Clippers sweep.

I said for Portland to have a chance to pull the upset in Game 2, the Blazers had to shoot much better from 3-point range and get Damian Lillard some help. Well, Lillard was pretty bad himself, shooting 6-for-22 overall and 0-for-6 from 3-point range to finish with 17 points. Backcourt mate C.J. McCollum was really bad again, hitting just 6-for-17 overall for 16 points. The Blazers were outscored by 25 points when he was on the court. That was a team worst by far. Once again the Clippers dared guys like Al-Farouq Aminu or Moe Harkless to beat them and they couldn't rise to the occasion. Aminu was 1-for-7 from long range for nine points and Harkless was 5-for-13 overall for 12.

The Blazers shot an ugly 34.1 percent overall and 19.2 percent from 3-point range. Their bench combined for 10 points. Lillard is a great player, but in his past 12 playoff games since hitting an epic 3-point series winner against the Houston Rockets in 2014, Lillard is shooting 39.5 percent overall and 17.6 percent behind the arc. Portland is 2-10 in those games.

I try to be a glass half-full guy so I'll point out a couple of positives for Portland in Game 2. Mason Plumlee was really solid with 17 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals. It was Plumlee's first career postseason double-double. And the Blazers were only down six points entering the fourth quarter.  

The Trail Blazers were 21-20 against the spread at home this season on NBA odds and 21-20 'over/under.' Portland is 76-37 all-time at home in the playoffs and 37-23 at home in first-round games.

 

Clippers Have Had Series Leads Before
Let's be clear here: The Clippers' starting five, led by Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, is way better than Portland's starting five. So the Blazers need to have an edge on the bench. Alas, the Los Angeles bench had 43 points in Game 2. That group as usual was led by Jamal Crawford, who was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year earlier this week for a record third time (that a record you want?). Crawford had 11 points and four assists in 27 minutes and the Clippers outscored the Blazers by 18 points when he was on the floor. Cole Aldrich had eight rebounds and two blocks in just 12 minutes. Every Clipper reserve other than Pablo Prigioni, who played one minute, had a plus/minus rating of at least plus-15. The L.A. bench’s 33-point scoring advantage was the team's largest in the postseason since at least 1993-94.

The Blazers tried a defensive switch on Paul, sticking the 6-foot-9 Harkless on him and moving Lillard to guarding Luc Mbah a Moute, who isn't much of an offensive threat. It worked for the first half as Paul was held to seven points before intermission. But he finished with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists in hugely outplaying Lillard again. The Blazers did a better job on Blake Griffin and Jordan, however. Griffin was held to 12 points on 4-for-12 shooting and Jordan just three points (but 18 rebounds).

Here's how I know Coach Doc Rivers won't let his guys feel satisfied up 2-0: in 2013 the Clippers won the first two games at home of their first-round series with  Memphis and then lost the next four. That led to Rivers' hiring/trade from Boston. And last year, the Clippers had a 3-1 lead over Houston and lost the series.

The Clippers were 20-19-2 ATS on NBA picks away from home this season and 21-20 O/U.

Take the points, go 'over'. Being in the home gym has to help Lillard and McCollum with their shooting. And it's basically a must-win game for the Blazers. They will play like it to make it a series. The teams split in Portland during the season, each winning by 11. 

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Free NBA Pick: Over 207.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage