The Portland Trail Blazers hope to build on an encouraging performance in a narrow Game 2 defeat in Oakland when they host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Tipoff from the Moda Center is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. The Trail Blazers are 5-1 at the Moda Center in the 2019 NBA Playoffs and need another win on their home floor in order to avoid a dire 3-0 deficit against the two-time defending NBA champs. They led Game 2 most of the way Thursday in Oakland, but couldn’t hold off a second-half blitz from the Warriors and fell 114-111 at Oracle Arena. Steph Curry led Golden State with 37 points. Portland is a 2.5-point sportsbook favorite and the over-under for total points scored is 221 in the latest Warriors vs. Blazers odds. Before you lock in your Warriors vs. Blazers picks, look at the NBA Playoffs 2019 predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, is crushing its NBA picks. It entered the conference finals in the 2019 NBA Playoffs with a sterling record on its top-rated picks, returning more than $3,000 in profit to anybody following them this season. And it has been particularly red-hot on its A-rated NBA money line picks, entering the conference finals on a strong 85-61 run. Anybody who has followed it is way up.
Now, the model has zeroed in on Game 3 of Warriors vs. Blazers in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. We can tell you it’s leaning under and it has also generated a point-spread pick that hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. That one is only available at SportsLine.
The model knows the Trail Blazers will be desperate to earn a Game 3 victory and likely salvage their hopes for remaining competitive in the series. They won Game 3 on their home floor against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round and against the Denver Nuggets in the second round.
Despite squandering a 15-point halftime lead in Game 2, Portland can take confidence from seeing a much-improved performance compared to the series opener. The Trail Blazers appeared to hit a flat spot following their seven-game series against Denver and took a 116-94 loss in Game 1.
They were more efficient on both ends in Game 2. They drilled 18 three-pointers while shooting 46.2 percent from beyond the arc and their active defense made it difficult for Curry and Klay Thompson to find open looks. They forced 16 turnovers that they converted into 18 points. Damian Lillard led five players in double-figures with 23 points.
Portland has covered four of the last five games following a straight-up loss, but there’s no guarantee it will be able to cover the Warriors vs. Blazers spread against a Golden State club that will be determined to take a stronghold on the series.
The Warriors split games in Portland during the regular season and will look to avoid a letdown in Game 3 after they “stole” Game 2 with their late rally, according to coach Steve Kerr. A win would put Golden State on the doorstep of another berth in the NBA Finals despite the absence of Kevin Durant, who suffered a calf strain in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets. Durant is out indefinitely and will not travel to Portland for Games 3 and 4.
Without Durant, Curry has returned to his MVP-caliber form with three consecutive games scoring 30 or more points. He hit all 11 of his free throws in Game 2, while also adding eight rebounds and eight assists. Golden State had 30 assists on 42 field goals and held a 56-39 rebounding advantage.