Friday’s Results: 1-2
All Time Results: 85-99-2, -7.15 Units
Golden State Warriors -3 @ Portland Trail Blazers – 1 Unit
NBA Teams down 0-3 have been solid bet against teams over the years. Here are the numbers:
NBA Teams Down 0-3 ATS since 2005
Overall: 23-34 (40.3%)
When Underdogs: 20-29 (40.8%)
When Home 21-29 (42.8%)
Many, and myself included, feel this trend has everything to do with the team being demoralized after falling into an 0-3 hole. There seems to be a natural inclination to feel that the series and your season is over at this point and your assumption precedes your reality. Damian Lillard addressed this sentiment to the media this morning:
“You could be up 2-1, but you’re down 0-3. And you look at the numbers and there’s a slim chance of you winning the series…We could be the first.”
The Blazers – to their credit – have bucked trends and rebounded all season. But if the second half of Game 3 is any indication, the team has started to let go of the rope.
In the 2nd half of last game, the Blazers scored only 33 points. Without their backcourt effectively penetrating or attacking switches, the Blazers had no clear direction to their offense. We learned after the game that Damian Lillard is battling a rib injury, which might explain some of the tentativeness he has displayed in the series.
One clear indication to me that this team had started to mentally check-out was when they gave up several point-blank lay ups in the 4th quarter last game. It wasn’t so much that the Warriors were getting into these positions, but that the Blazers did not foul to prevent the easy buckets. These were textbook “playoff foul moments”. The Blazers didn’t display the desperation of a team that feels that they’re still relevant in these playoffs.
After giving up back-to-back 17+ point advantages, the Blazers will play this game waiting for the other shoe to drop. They have played two grueling series before this one with limited depth, and without much to look forward to, I expect them to be passive and lethargic here by the end of the game.
Recent history doesn’t provide much optimism for Portland. Since 2016 The Warriors are 11-1 SU and 8-4 ATS against these Blazers in the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors @ Portland Trail Blazers Under 219 – 1 Unit
The Warriors have no problem playing a methodical, grind-it-out game. Much of their bench provides little to no offensive punch, and the more the Warriors can rest the starters, the better. In the 7 quarters this series where the Warriors have outscored the Blazers the average total has been 51.5 points per game.
The Blazers, on the other hand, want to push the pace. They know that getting out in transition and bombing from deep is their best and only chance to top the champs. In the 5 quarters that the Blazers have outscored the Warriors, the average total is 58.6 points per game.
Again, I just don’t think the Blazers have enough in the tank to the play at the pace and style that they want to for 48 minutes. Particularly, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard have looked spent in the second halves of these games. When trapped at the top of the key, Dame is giving up the ball without much resistance and not moving to re-engage with the play. CJ is 2/12 in the past two 4th quarters, not being able to replicate the Herculean 4th quarter effort he showed in Game 7 against the Nuggets. A tell-tale sign of fatigue: CJ missed 5 free throws in the 4th quarter of Game 3.
Dame & CJ have not often had the defensive responsibility of running around screens to stop the marksmanship of two great guards like Steph & Klay. It seems to be too tall of a task for them to replicate their amazing offensive production in this match-up.
Golden State Warriors @ Portland Trail Blazers Over 112 – .5 Unit
Whatever energy that the Blazers backcourt and team have, they will want to use to start the game off strong. Knowing that the mood could quickly become somber in the Moda Center, I expect the Blazers to start off the game with abandon and try to replicate their hot shooting from the first halves of Games 2 & 3. The grind of having to guard the Warriors won’t weigh on them fully until later in the game. Before then, I like for them to play fast and play well, leading to a higher scoring opening two periods.
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