NBA picks: Trail Blazers vs. Lakers, Thunder vs. Rockets
The first round of the Western Conference playoffs is nearing its sensational conclusion, and the Los Angeles Lakers look to advance while the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets get in position to land a critical blow.
At 12:30 p.m. ET, the Thunder and Rockets look to get some headway with their series tied at two games apiece. Later, at 3:30 p.m. ET, the Lakers look to close out the Portland Trail Blazers and advance to the second round. BetAmerica has betting odds and picks for both games below.
Thu, August 27 2020, 1:00 AM
Portland Trail Blazers
With Damian Lillard out for game 5 and facing a 3-1 deficit, it’s safe to say that Dame Time is over and the Blazers’ goose is cooked. LeBron James and Anthony Davis exploded on the Blazers once again, this time with James putting up 30 points and 10 rebounds before calling it a game in the third quarter.
By that time, the Lakers had the game in the bag after putting up 80 first half points. Without Lillard, the Blazers are going to need a superhuman effort from Jusuf Nurkic and C.J. McCollum to stay alive for one more game.
At this point, the line can’t be higher for the Lakers. James may very well load manage this game if Davis gets into an early rhythm, and they jump to another sizeable lead in the first half. Keeping James out might make the game close down the stretch, but chances are that he’ll play out the game.
Portland’s frantic run to the eight seed has left them out of gas and out of time, and the Lakers would love nothing more to close this series out as the Thunder and Rockets continue to pummel each other in their hotly-contested series.
NBA pick: Lakers moneyline
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets
Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder have stepped up in a big way, turning what was looking like a playoff wipeout into a competitive series. The Thunder have won their last two games against the Rockets thanks to Paul’s resurgence and the clutch play that has defined their season.
If this small lineup can continue to keep the game within striking distance with the Rockets, there is a good chance that they can steal their third straight game and put the Rockets in an awkward 3-2 spot.
Houston lives and dies at the three-point line, and they shot from beyond the arc 58 times, only making 23 of them. Even though the Thunder played a tremendous game, they escaped with a win by the narrowest of margins.
Unless the Rockets have another lapse on both sides of the court, and Harden is continuously having to force shots late in the game, it's hard seeing them lose three straight times. The Rockets must get off to a hot start and hang tough on defense to limit the Thunders’ chance of stealing another game. Should the Rockets implode here, then this series is all but over.