Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#503 Oklahoma City Thunder 219.5 vs.
#504 Portland Trailblazers -175
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 10:35pm EDT
Moda Center, Portland
Written by Chris Kubala

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#503 Oklahoma City
#504 Portland
50-36
56-30
43-43
48-38
40-44-2
44-41-1
113
114
110
110

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A first-round Western Conference playoff series returns to the Pacific Northwest with the hosts trying to close things out. The sixth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder is on the road as they travel to face the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of their best of seven set Tuesday night. Portland took the first two games of the series at home, prevailing 104-99 in Game 1 and following that up with a 114-94 victory in Game 2. Oklahoma City got on the board by taking Game 3 at home 120-108 but the Trail Blazers claimed Game 4 111-98 on the road Sunday to take a 3-1 series lead. The Thunder owns a 120-116 advantage in the all-time regular season series and swept the four games between the teams this season. In the postseason, the teams have each won two previous series though the Trail Blazers own an 11-9 edge in head to head playoff victories.

Oklahoma City Thunder Hoping to Force Game 6

Oklahoma City had a chance to square the series at home after taking Game 3 but couldn’t get the job down. The Thunder now finds themselves in the dire predicament of knowing a loss in their next three potential games would end their season. Oklahoma City has to dig down and find the momentum that carried them to four straight regular season wins over Portland, including a pair in this building. The Thunder was within two after the opening quarter and four at the half before things got away from them a bit in the third quarter. A 21-6 run in the third quarter turned a 58-54 deficit into a 79-60 hole: Oklahoma City didn’t get closer than seven with 1:31 to play in the game. The Thunder shot 37.5 percent from the field, including 15 of 40 from three-point range, and turned the ball over 14 times in the loss. Paul George led Oklahoma City with 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the loss.

The Thunder is below average offensively this postseason as they are 11th with an average of 102.8 points per game. Oklahoma City is tied for 9th in the league in rebounding with 44.3 boards per contest. The Thunder is 7th in assists with 22.3 per game. Oklahoma City is 10th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 109.3 points a night. Oklahoma City is 12th in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 41.3 percent from the floor. The Thunder is tied for 12th with 10 made threes per game and stand 13th in three-point shooting at 30.8 percent. Paul George leads the way with 26.8 points plus 8.5 rebounds per contest. Russell Westbrook contributes 21.3 points, 8.3 rebounds plus 9.8 assists per game but is shooting only 36.3 percent from the floor. The Thunder has to get better production from Steven Adams and Westbrook for them to have a chance to extend the series.

Portland Trail Blazers Looking to Close Things Out at Home

Portland bounced back from their Game 3 road loss as they took care of business in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead. The Trail Blazers rode a strong third quarter run to take control of the game and then had a run early in the fourth to put the game out of reach. Portland led by two after the opening quarter and trailed by four late in the second quarter before going on a 13-0 run spanning halftime to go up nine. After the Trail Blazers saw the lead cut to four, they used a 21-6 run to go up 19: with the lead down to nine early in the fourth quarter, they reeled off an 8-0 run to go back up 17. The lead didn’t drop below seven after that. Portland shot 41.1 percent from the field, including 15 of 35 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 49-44. CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 27 points in the win.

The Trail Blazers come into this one 7th in the league in postseason scoring with 109.3 points per game. The Trail Blazers are 8th in the league in rebounding as they collect 45.5 boards a night. Portland is 16th in the league in assists with 16.3 per contest. The Trail Blazers are slightly above average defensively as they come in 6th in the league by allowing 102.8 points a night. Portland is 9th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 44.1 percent from the floor. The Trail Blazers are knocking down 12.8 three pointers a night, which is 4th in the league, while ranking 2nd in the league by shooting 41.5 percent from downtown. Damian Lillard leads the way with 28.8 points plus six assists per contest in the postseason. CJ McCollum adds 26.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while Enes Kanter chips in 13.3 points plus 9.5 boards per contest. The Trail Blazers have gotten crucial production from several of their role players in the series, which has been critical to their 3-1 series edge.

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Oklahoma City has struggled in this series despite the Trail Blazers missing their anchor in the middle, Jusuf Nurkic. The Thunder has to take advantage of Kanter’s defensive liabilities and establish Adams in the low block. Westbrook has to get untracked for the Thunder as well: he can’t continue to shoot sub-40 percent if Oklahoma City is going to win here and extend the series. George can’t do everything himself but with the Thunder’s backs to the wall, look for a more vintage Westbrook performance. Portland is slowed just enough in this one for the Thunder to get the win and force a Game 6.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder +3.5

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This is a major test for Oklahoma City, who has been held under 100 points in three of the four games in this series. It’s little surprise that the Thunder is 0-3 in those contests, which is why they are facing elimination at this point. Portland has scored at least 104 points in all four games and that’s something that Oklahoma City has to slow down if they want to extend the series. The Trail Blazers have survived so far without Nurkic: can they come up with the victory in this one to close things out or will the Thunder force a Game 6 situation by prevailing here?

The under is 5-1 in the Thunder’s last 6 games playing on 1 day of rest, 5-1-1 in their last 7 games following an ATS loss, 5-1 in their last 6 Conference Quarterfinals games and 9-2 in their last 11 games following a double-digit loss at home. Portland has seen the under go 10-4 in their last 14 on Tuesday and 7-3 in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning straight up record. The under is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Portland and 7-3 in their last 10 meetings overall. Look for this one to fall short of the total as defense carries the day enough to push this one below the number.

Prediction: Under 219

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.