The Brookyln Nets (26-28) are midst a western road trip. So far, the Nets are 2-1 on their west coast swing with wins over Utah and the LA Lakers and a close loss to the Golden State Warriors. They’ll race their toughest test Wednesday night in Portland. The Portland Trail Blazers (39-18) are one of the league’s top scoring teams and have ripped off three straight victories. The Blazers are playing without power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a groin injury. In his absence, point guard Damon Lillard has assumed the scoring responsibility. Since the All-Star break, Lillard is averaging 30 points per game. Lillard has been feasting on opposing point guards, so Deron Williams will have his hands full trying to contain Lillard.
The Trail Blazers are playing a ‘back-to-back’ after a 100-95 road win over Denver last night. Portland’s three best players, Lillard, Nicolas Batum, and Robin Lopez all logged over 37 minutes in the win. Could the young, up-start Blazers feel the effects after playing in Denver’s ‘mile high’ climate? Not having power forward, Thomas Robinson, who filled in for Aldridge, will be a big issue. Robinson left Tuesday’s game with an injury and did not return.
Portland has one of the better home records in the West (21-7) and is a staggering 17-4 against the Eastern Conference. Outside of Robin Lopez, the Blazers don’t have much size so expect Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche, and Andrei Kirilenko to establish themselves early on. If the Nets can slow down Portland’s efficient offense, they’ll have a chance to win.
Current NBA odds have Portland listed as a 3-point home favorite. We think that number is pretty small for a Blazer team that plays very well at home. Brooklyn has already ‘broke even’ per se on this road trip, so they’ll look forward to getting back to New York. Back Portland and lay the points in this match-up.