With George Ailing, Back Blazers For 2-0 Lead On Thunder Tuesday

With George Ailing, Back Blazers For 2-0 Lead On Thunder Tuesday

Game 2: Oklahoma City (0-1) at Portland (1-0)

Tuesday, 10:30 PM ET (TNT)

Free NBA Pick: Blazers ATS

Best Lines Offered: BetOnline

Lot of “experts’ picked the No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder to beat the No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers in their first-round Western Conference playoff series. Maybe that still happens, but there were a few concerning signs for Oklahoma City in its 104-99 loss in the Pacific Northwest in Game 1 Sunday.

Russell Westbrook did his thing with a ninth career playoff triple-double, putting up 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. However, that was about the extent of the good news. Oh, and Westbrook appeared to tweak an ankle during the game. No way he sits Tuesday, though.

Paul George’s right shoulder is clearly bothering him. He was listed as questionable for Game 1 but played and had 26 points – on an ugly 8-for-24 from the field and 4-for-15 from deep. George had averaged 38 points and 45.9 percent shooting from deep against Portland during the regular season, with the Thunder sweeping four games. The only other first-round matchup that featured a regular-season sweep was Milwaukee over Detroit. “Four days ago,’ George said after the Game 1 loss, “I couldn’t even lift my shoulder.’

In addition, George and Westbrook got little help from the bench. Dennis Schroder is usually the main guy there but was 5-for-17 from the field and 0-for-7 from deep. OKC was a ghastly 5-for-33 from behind the arc. That 15.2 percent shooting is the worst percentage in NBA playoff history on at least 30 attempts.

The Blazers didn’t miss injured center Jusuf Nurkic in Game 1; Nurkic was lost for the season a few weeks ago. Former Thunder player Enes Kanter blew up in Nurkic’s place with 20 points and a playoff career-high 18 rebounds in Game 1 as Portland snapped a 10-game playoff losing streak.

Kanter became just the third player in franchise history (Bill Walton and LaMarcus Aldridge) to score at least 20 points and pull down 18 rebounds in a playoff game. Portland was a game-high plus-15 in his 34 minutes. Kanter always has been solid offensively and on the glass, but he’s one of the worst defenders in the NBA. Alas, the Thunder never really took advantage of that.

Damian Lillard did his usual thing with 30 points and CJ McCollum had 24, six rebounds and three assists. Lillard has now scored at least 30 points in 11 career playoff games.

  • Thunder are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games.
  • Blazers are 5-2 ATS in past seven home meetings.

Portland was one of the NBA’s best home teams during the regular season at 32-9. It’s always been tough to play up there. Back the Blazers Tuesday as they win by six to take a 2-0 series lead.

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