NBA Pick: Playoff Play of the Day Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, April 25, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Every day during the NBA Playoffs, LT Profits Sports seeks that one single playoff play that has the best chance of cashing. Here is their Playoff Play of the Day Friday.

The desperate road team down 0-2 in the series may step up its game Friday night when those Houston Rockets (54-30, 21-20 away) pay a visit to the Portland Trail Blazers (56-28, 31-10 home) for Game 3 of their NBA Playoffs first round series from the Moda Center in Portland, OR at 10:35 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Houston as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +3 with odds of -107.

To say that that the Rockets are in trouble after losing the first two games of this series at home in high-scoring affairs would be an understatement, but that could put them in a favorable betting position here as they will be playing with a sense of desperation, and it is not as if they lack the talent to win on the road after going 21-20 away from home this year.

The Blazers on the other hand have to be feeling good about themselves, and they probably know that they can effectively end this series if they take a 3-0 lead here with Game 4 also at home. The Rockets should not go down easily however and there is always the thought in the back of the Blazers’ minds that all they really have to do is win one of these next two games to maintain the home court advantage.

The story of Game 2 for Portland was LaMarcus Aldridge, who followed up his 46 point performance in Game 1 by going off for another 43 points! That made him the first player since LeBron James in 2009 to score at least 40 points in consecutive playoff games, and what made Aldridge’s feat more remarkable is that the 40-point efforts came in different ways.

After dominating on the interior in Game 1, Aldridge actually stepped out more in Game 2 with 13 of his 18 field goals coming from 10 feet and beyond. That actually leads us to believe that he will come back down to earth this game as the Rockets will again do everything in their power to push Aldridge out away from the basket, and if he duplicates that night he had shooting mid-range jumpers, so be it. We like the chances of that performance being an aberration.

Then there is the issue of James Haren being 14-for-47 for this series after finishing fifth in the NBA in scoring this season with 25.4 points per game. That is something else that we do not expect to continue, and if Harden regains his touch as expected from the outside and Dwight Howard dominates inside like he did in Game 2 with 32 points and 14 rebounds, that inside-outside combination would be very tough to beat even on the road.

Granted the Blazers went an excellent 31-10 at home this year, but one of those losses did come to these Rockets, against whom Portland lost three out of four in the regular season. In that home loss, Howard and Harden combined for 62 points and Howard defended Aldridge reasonably well by “limiting” him to 21 points on 9-for-19 shooting.

With the Rockets being the team playing to save their season here, a near carbon copy of that contest in this spot would not surprise us one bit.

Thus, we recommend taking the points on the road with Houston as at the very least their desperation should take this game down to the wire, with an outright upset to get back in the series far from impossible in Game 3 from Portland on Friday.

[gameodds]5/264180/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Rockets +3 (-107)