The Brooklyn Nets will not be in full force when they face the Portland Trail Blazers this Wednesday, but can the latter capitalize on the absences of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving?
Catch this game live on Wednesday, March 24, at 10:00 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Portland Trail Blazers (25-17, 14-8 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Damian Lillard
- SG: CJ McCollum
- SF: Derrick Jones Jr.
- PF: Robert Covington
- C: Enes Kanter
The Blazers got hit by a train that is the Dallas Mavericks last Monday, as Luka Doncic and company ran over Portland at home for a 132-92 win. The loss was Portland’s first in four games.
It didn’t help the Blazers that Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 0-of-12 shooting from behind the arc, but it can also just be “one of those nights.” The Blazers can get back up and show their usual lethal offense that is averaging 114.5 points per game and 16.1 threes per contest, 10th and second in the NBA this season, respectively, when they meet Brooklyn this Wednesday.
The Nets are not in their full form, with Durant and Irving missing. The Nets added Blake Griffin, but he’s barely going to move the needle defensively for a team that’s 27th in the league in adjusted defensive rating (114.8). The Blazers are 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games on a Wednesday (Manila).
ROAD TEAM: Brooklyn Nets (29-14, 12-8 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Bruce Brown
- SG: Joe Harris
- SF: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
- PF: Blake Griffin
- C: DeAndre Jordan
It’s possible that the Nets would parade a lineup this Wednesday that’s akin to what they had on the floor back in 2016. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have already been ruled out of the game against Portland, and now, James Harden is in danger of missing the contest due to neck soreness.
If Harden plays, it’s a huge plus for Brooklyn, considering how bad Portland’s defense is. If Harden sits out, the Nets should still find ways to score, as the Blazers are 27th in the league in scoring defense with 115.5 points allowed per game and 28th in opponents’ shooting efficiency with 1.168 points surrendered per possession.
Plus, the Nets have trended well against the spread in their last few meetings with Portland. They have covered the spread in five of the six most recent showdowns with the Blazers, dating back to 2017.
Don’t underestimate how low Portland’s defense can go even against a team playing without its top players. Take the Blazers to win straight up, but the Nets to cover as 4.5-point road ‘dogs.
It’s tempting to bet on the Under, knowing the quality of offensive weapons the Nets are missing, but this feels like one of those trap games. Take the Over 236.5.