We took a break from our daily NBA picks on Easter (hope you had a good one!) but we’re back to kick off another week of intense NBA action. We left off with a sweet 676-344 record despite struggling through a 4-6 Saturday night. In our defense, the Wizards won in Memphis, the Hornets beat the Sixers by one, Orlando won in Milwaukee and the Celtics won in Toronto in a thrilling overtime battle. It just wasn’t our day, but we’ll continue on and hope Monday goes a little better.
The good news is Monday is about as light as it gets, as we have just one NBA game on the docket. The Portland Trail Blazers head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets at the Barclays Center. Brooklyn had previously put together a nice five-game winning streak before getting absolutely trounced by the Hawks on Saturday. They should have a decent chance at holding their own at home tonight, of course, as Portland will be resting key players in LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Chris Kaman. With Wesley Matthews already out for the year, this puts the Blazers at a pretty big disadvantage on the road.
Let’s see if that translates into a nets win by breaking this one down a little further:
Portland Trail Blazers @ Brooklyn Nets 7:00 pm ET on NBA TV
The Blazers are extremely average on the road (19-18), but it doesn’t hurt that the Nets aren’t even that on their own floor (16-20). Still, the Blazers are without their top offensive weapons in Ridge, and losing both him and Batum hurts their defense. The Nets, on the other hand, are completely healthy and have been looking pretty good ever since they correctly figured out their offense should be built around center Brook Lopez.
Lopez is going to be the key to this game, just like he is with any Nets game moving forward, but specifically tonight perhaps due to the interesting battle between himself and his brother, who plays center for the Trail Blazers. The first two meetings earlier in their careers were absolutely abysmal, but since then the brothers have exchanged good game after good game, with Robin’s Blazers narrowly getting by the Nets in their only meeting with Robin in Portland. The other meetings have seen Brook score the ball well, but the Nets have fallen to Robin Lopez’s team five out of eight total contests.
As key as the Lopez matchup might be, the other big matchup will be Deron Williams versus Damian Lillard. Lillard has been terrific once again this year, while neither of these star point guards plays enough defense to get anyone excited. If D-Will can show up along with Lopez, the Nets are going to have the offensive edge in this one, with Thaddeus Young and Joe Johnson hopefully chipping in to round out the more balanced attack. Of course, the Blazers have been getting great play out of guard C.J. McCollum, and if he shows up the Blazers could keep things interesting. Brooklyn is at home and plays solid defense, however, so with more bodies to help out, they’ll probably have the slight edge. These types of games aren’t the most reliable for NBA betting, but the odds ultimately do favor the Nets in this one.
Pick: Nets 103, Blazers 101