The Portland Trail Blazers are trying to build momentum before the playoffs. Yet, they’ve been banged up a lot in recent weeks. Can they cover a huge NBA betting spread in Los Angeles against the Lakers?
The Portland Trail Blazers Can Win Because…
They are taking care of business against non-playoff teams. If you go back a few weeks, the last time the Blazers lost to a team not currently in a playoff position was on March 20 against Orlando. In the past 12 days, Portland has taken care of Utah, Phoenix twice, and then the Denver Nuggets in a separate game. The Blazers don’t have a healthy LaMarcus Aldridge, but he’s back in the lineup and has been scoring well of late. He scored 27 points in a win at Phoenix on March 27, and he scored 32 in a win versus Denver the very next night. He continues to do a great job of playing through pain and leading by example on this team.
The Blazers are also getting solid performances from Damian Lillard, who consistently gets teammates involved on the Portland roster. Lillard has had the game-high assist total in three of Portland’s last five games. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do. As a result, Portland has scored at least 109 points in each of its last three games.
The other big reason to pick the Blazers is that the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling, particularly on defense. On Wednesday, the Lakers were cut apart by New Orleans. Los Angeles was outscored, 84-61, in the final three quarters. The Lakers allowed New Orleans to hit 56.4 percent of its shots from the field. The Pelicans hit more than 50 percent of their three-pointers, and they committed only six turnovers, a sign of how passive and soft the Lakers’ defense really was. The Lakers give up an average of 104.8 points per game. Since Portland is a solid offensive team, averaging over 102 points per game, it’s hard to see how the NBA odds underdog Lakers are going to stop the Blazers.
The Los Angeles Lakers Can Win Because…
They are facing a team which suffered a defensive collapse the other night. Portland gained a 68-55 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers at home after playing a virtually perfect first half on offense. Then, however, Portland allowed the Clippers to score 30 in the third quarter and a whopping 41 points in the fourth. Los Angeles’ 71 points in the second half were barely enough to beat the Blazers, 126-122. If Portland had just allowed 65 points in the second half, it would have won the game. That’s as hard-to-take as it gets. The Blazers didn’t have to be great on defense. They just had to be ordinary to win. They couldn’t manage to be ordinary. The Clippers hit 53.5 percent of their shots for the game and made 15 of 28 three-pointers. They forced only six turnovers, which is the kind of timid defense which just can’t hold up at this time of year.
The Lakers have a chance of outscoring the Blazers, due to Portland’s vulnerable defense. However, the Blazers can do more damage to Los Angeles at the other end of the court. Take Portland with your NBA pick.
NBA Pick: Portland -10.5 at 5Dimes