NBA

Portland Trail Blazers to Improve on Defense in Game 2 vs. Golden State Warriors

The Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors clash in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night.

Thursday, May 16 at 9:00 PM ET

ORACLE Arena

Coverage: ESPN

The Warriors don't seem to miss reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant and they led most of the way last Tuesday, taking care of the Trail Blazers in an easy 116-94 win.

This is a series with arguably the two best backcourts in the NBA and the Splash Brothers prevailed in Game 1; Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum scored 36 points combined but Stephen Curry alone matched that total and Klay Thompson finished with 26 points.

Three players scored in double-figures for the Trail Blazers besides Lillard and McCollum, led by Rodney Hood and Maurice Harkless, who had 17 points apiece. The Warriors had six bench players with more than 10 minutes of action and they are firing on all cylinders at both ends of the court, while the Trail Blazers are not known for their depth.

Poor production from the bench has been an issue for the Warriors all season long; they ranked near the bottom of the league in scoring in the regular season and the playoffs but their reserves showed up big time last Tuesday, led by Jonas Jerebko's nine points and five rebounds. All eight bench players finished with a positive plus/minus (+/-) and if they keep playing like that the Warriors will be almost unbeatable, even without KD.

Production from the second unit similar to Game 1 will force the Trail Blazers to focus on more players, creating open looks for the Splash Brothers, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. The defense was a difference-maker for the Warriors as well; limiting Lillard and McCollum to just 36 points combined on 11-for-31 (35.4 percent) from the field and 3-for-10 from beyond the arc (30.0 percent).

NBA Trends:

The Under is:

6-0 in Golden State’s last six Western Conference Finals games

11-3-1 in Golden State’s last 15 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600

11-4 in Golden State’s last 15 games following an ATS win

8-3 in Golden State’s last 11 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points

13-5 in Golden State’s last 18 home games

15-6-1 in Golden State’s last 22 games playing on one day of rest

20-8 in Golden State’s last 28 games against Northwest Division opponents

4-1 in the last five meetings in Golden State

Team rankings based on pace in the playoffs:

Trail Blazers – 11th (98.8 possessions per game)

Warriors – 7th (101.8 possessions per game)

NBA Pick: Under 218.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff

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