On Monday, two likely playoff teams will square off as the Trailblazers head to Texas to take on the Spurs. These squads are certainly no strangers to one another, so it should make for another interesting game. Should you bet on the rising youngsters of Portland, or will the seasoned experience of San Antonio lead the way? Does Dame Dolla or LaMarcus Aldridge get the last laugh? Let’s take a look!
Portland Trailblazers (2-1) @ San Antonio Spurs (2-0)
William Hill Odds: San Antonio -5.5, Total 222, MoneyLine -235
The Blazers have had some excellent seasons the past few years, culminating in a Western Conference Finals appearance last year against the Warriors. They did lose the series 0-4, but 2 games were decided by 3 points or less and they were missing a key player in Jusuf Nurkic. Now they’ve added Hassan Whiteside and should have Nurkic back before the playoffs, so this is a much scarier team with a legitimate chance to win it all this season.
- Zach Collins is likely to miss tonight’s game despite being listed as day-to-day as he will have an MRI done on his dislocated shoulder today.
- The Blazers are playing their first back-to-back of the season after beating the Mavericks 121-119. Lillard and McCollum combined for 63 points in the victory.
- Damian Lillard is continuing his excellent this season, averaging7 points, 6 assists, and 1.7 steals on 52.5% shooting.
- Despite a rough game against Dallas last night, new addition Hassan Whiteside has been huge for Portland. He is averaging 7 points and 14 rebounds on a blistering 81% shooting.
- A major strong point has been their shooting percentage. As a team, they are shooting 49% from the field, tied for 3rd best in the league.
- Despite their shooting percentage, they must improve their assist numbers and share the ball more. They are the absolute worst team in the league in this department, averaging just 3 assists per game.
- Portland has covered the point spread the last 2 games (but not their first game of the season), including beating the spread against Dallas last night.
The Spurs are always a good team behind the brilliance of Gregg Popovich. Their roster has experienced a lot of change over the last decade, but it doesn’t really impact their ability to consistently make the playoffs. The aging trio of Aldridge, DeRozan, and Gay are steady and productive, but now they have a rising star in Dejounte Murray. This will make the Spurs much spookier this year with his added firepower and solid defense.
- There are 4 players currently averaging 18 points per game or higher (Aldridge, DeRozan, Murray, and Forbes).
- Dejounte Murray is fresh off of a contract extension and backing it up with fantastic play. Across both games, he is averaging 5 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2.5 steals on 60% shooting. Even better, he is 6th in the league for PER at a crazy 38.36.
- LaMarcus Aldridge continues to perform with his averages of 5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks on 56.3% shooting.
- The Spurs have been great in two areas; rebounding and field goal percentage. They are tied for 3rd in the league at 52 rebounds per game and 5th in FG% at 2%.
- They will need to much better on defense as a team. San Antonio allows 5 points per game on 48.1% shooting, both in the bottom 5 of the league.
- The Spurs have not covered the point spread in their 2 games despite winning both.
Pick: San Antonio Spurs -5.5
Portland looks like a good pick on paper considering their great team shooting percentage, but it is very worrisome that they are worst in the league when it comes to assists. This will definitely change as the season goes on, but right now it’s a glaring issue. Especially when you consider that they just played last night in Dallas, a team lacking ball movement will struggle to score on the road against a rested Spurs team. San Antonio is steady and balanced, they’ll just need to improve their defense and that likely won’t be an issue tonight. This is why you should lay the points tonight and bet on the San Antonio Spurs to win.