NBA Pick: Portland Trail Blazers @ Atlanta Hawks Preview
The Trail Blazers have really gotten off to a great start to the season, and if they can find a way to keep beating the teams that they are supposed to at the Rose Garden, they’ll be in great shape for the playoffs. Unfortunately though, this game isn’t at home, where Portland is 6-1 this season, and instead, it is on the road where it is just 2-4. To make matters worse, it comes against a team that is 6-1 on its home court. Marcus Camby is probably out of the lineup in this one, which will put some more pressure on Kurt Thomas off of the bench, but in the end, neither player should really make a huge difference as long as the likes of Gerald Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge play well and stay out of foul trouble. The Trail Blazers have had an iffy road trip in which they have already lost to the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, but this is the easier portion of the road trip that started on Monday with a win over the New Orleans Hornets. The key is going to be getting the defense revved up again. In the last four losses that this team has suffered, the team has allowed at least 97 points. In two of the last three wins, opponents were held in the 70s.
The Hawks have won three in a row and six out of seven, but before you get all that excited, check out the teams that they beat… Sure, the win against the Chicago Bulls here at Phillips Arena was nice, but aside from that, there were two wins against the Charlotte Bobcats and one against the New Jersey Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Toronto Raptors. Wee. Atlanta still has a major problem that it is trying to get used to in the form of that injury to Al Horford, which will keep him out until at least the end of March, and maybe for the whole season. With Kirk Hinrich out until the end of the month and Tracy McGrady probably not getting back in the fold this week, the makeup of this team is shoddy at best. The starting five has been featuring Jeff Teague and Jason Collins. To show just how bad things really are for Collins, he has scored a grand total of four points in his last six games. Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, both of which are the big time scorers on the team, really have had to step up with all of the injuries, and Smith has logged at least 28 points and at least 13 boards in two of his last three games.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Atlanta Hawks Trends: All signs really point to the Portland upset in this one. Atlanta has covered five in a row in this series, but the road teams is 11-4 ATS in the last 15 in this series, while the underdogs are 10-3 ATS in the last 13. This is a bit of a spooky line at the Hawks by just 1.5, as it feels like it should be a heck of a lot more than that. That being said, Portland basically has a full squad at its disposal, and Atlanta seems like it is going to slip back to earth at some point with this lineup on the court.