Two teams moving in opposite directions are set to go head-to-head this Thursday, as the Portland Trail Blazers and the Boston Celtics collide for the first time this season. Will the Blazers keep their win streak alive? Or, will the Celtics foil Damian Lillard and Co.’s plans?
Catch this game live on Thursday, March 8, at 8:30 AM, Manila time
Away: Portland Trail Blazers (31-34/14-19 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Damian Lillard
- SG: Cam Reddish
- SF: Matisse Thybulle
- PF: Jerami Grant
- C: Jusuf Nurkić (questionable)
The Blazers are starting to hit their stride in their current road trip. After losing in Atlanta last Saturday by 18 points, Portland has stitched two wins in a row by smacking the Orlando Magic (122-119) and the Detroit Pistons (110-104) last Monday and Tuesday, respectively. And it wouldn’t shock you to know that Damian Lillard sizzled in both games, during which he unloaded a total of 72 points.
But Lillard has been off the charts this season overall, as evidenced by his average of 32.4 points per game and 37.7 percent shooting from behind the arc. He will have to continue doing more, though, as Anfernee Simons – the Blazers’ second-leading scorer – is unlikely to play due to an ankle injury. Meanwhile, Jusuf Nurkic has a shot at playing this Thursday for the first time since early February. If he’s ready to go, he could take advantage of the Celtics’ frontcourt that won’t have Robert Williams. The Blazers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games in Boston.
Home: Boston Celtics (45-21/25-9 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Grant Williams
- C: Al Horford
Every team in the NBA goes through a slump and it seems that Boston is on one. The Celtics have lost all their last three games following a gut-wrenching 118-114 overtime defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road last Tuesday. The Celtics, however, did not have Jayson Tatum and Al Horford in that game unlike in this upcoming meeting with the Blazers where the two regular starters are expected to play in. Both Tatum and Horford are off the Celtics’ injury report, so they should be good to go.
As mentioned earlier, Williams is out due to a left hamstring strain, but with Tatum and Horford returning, the Celtics should just be fine up front. Portland has one of the worst defenses in the league and it’s probably due for a whipping after getting away with it against lottery-bound teams in the last two games. The Blazers are 27th in the league in adjusted defensive rating (117.5) and 19th in points allowed per contest (115.6). The Celtics, on other hand, are inside the top five in both adjusted offensive (117.5) and defensive (112.1) ratings.
Spread: The Celtics (-10) cover.
Over/Under: The total (229.5) hits the Under.
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