The Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder clash in what should be an entertaining Game 4 of their best-of-seven playoff series on Sunday night.
Sunday, April 21 at 9:30 PM ET
Chesapeake Energy Arena
Grant & Schroder Shoot the Lights Out
The Thunder beat the Trail Blazers 120-108 on Friday but the game was actually closer than the final score and an OKC run in the end secured the win.
Russell Westbrook, who made 1 of 10 3-pointers in the first two games of the series, was 4-for-6 from beyond the arc in Game 3 and finished with 33 points, 11 assists and five rebounds and Paul George had 22 points, six rebounds and six assists despite an awful 3-for-16 shooting display.
The free-throw margin made a big difference in the end. The Thunder shot 15 more free-throws than the Trail Blazers and those extra opportunities to score helped significantly.
Another key for the Thunder in Game 3 was Jerami Grant and Dennis Schroder stepping up in a big way. Grant scored just 13 points on 3 of 15 shooting in the first two games of this series combined, missing his eight 3-point shots but he had 18 points on 6-for-7 from the field and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc in Game 3.
Schroder scored 18 points in the first two games of the series, going 7-for-22 from the field and 0-for-8 from 3-point range but he had 17 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals in Game 3 and he made 2 of 3 attempts from downtown.
Westbrook and George are obviously a big part of OKC's offense but getting some much-needed production from two key role players helped tremendously and they need big games from them again tonight.
The Over is:
6-1 in Portland's last seven games following a straight up loss
20-6-2 in Portland's last 28 games playing with one day of rest
5-1 in Oklahoma City's last six games following an ATS win
5-2 in Oklahoma City's last seven games following a straight up win
This stat sums up the first two games of this series:
Oklahoma City Thunder through two games: 10-for-61 (16.4 percent) from 3-point range
Damian Lillard through two games: 9-for-19 (47.3 percent) from 3-point range
The Thunder produced the worst two-game stretch for 3-point shooting in NBA Playoffs history but they regressed to the mean in Game 3. After going 5-for-33 (15.2 percent) from beyond the arc in Game 1 and 5-for-28 (17.9 percent) in Game 2, they were 15-for-29 (51.7 percent) from downtown on Friday, eclipsing the number of 3-pointers they made in the first two games combined.
While I don't see them shooting at a 50 percent clip from 3-point-range again, they lost the first game 104-99 despite shooting 15.2 percent from distance, so if they shoot between 35-40 percent tonight they should be in good shape and that will help our case for the 'Over.'
The Trail Blazers had 18 turnovers in Game 3, which isn't surprising because OKC led the NBA with a 14.4-percent turnover rate on defense. The Thunder turned the ball over 15 times themselves and those 33 lost possessions between both teams turned into points. These teams will take better care of the ball but their frenetic pace and heated rivalry can lead to mistakes and more possessions and 222.5 is still 1.5 to 2.5 points below the totals for Games 1 and 2 in Portland.
NBA Pick: Over 222.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff