The Golden State Warriors just look too good. Golden State has sprinted out to a 3-0 series lead against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals on the strength of its defense.
Portland played pretty well for stretches early on in Games 2 and 3, but the squad is shooting just 40.2 percent from the field in the series. The Warriors have shut down the Trail Blazers numerous times in key moments.
Today’s Game 4 will take place in Portland (9.05pm ET Monday on ESPN). Unfortunately for the Blazers, it was recently revealed that superstar guard Damian Lillard is playing through separated ribs.
Will the Blazers have enough resolve to overcome their talent disadvantage and prolong the series at home? Let’s discuss that question from different angles and then ultimately decide on the best ways to bet on the matchup with our Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers Game 4 predictions.
How Long Will Warriors Wait to Turn it On Defensively?
In the past two games, the Warriors have started very slowly, letting the Trail Blazers get off to a double-digit lead around the midway point of the contest. It’s almost like Golden State is trying to expend as little energy as possible while still getting the win.
The thing is, when the Warriors’ defense is locked in, the Blazers are almost completely incapable of getting good shots. Guys like Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell are just so athletic and skilled on the defensive end. Golden State’s defensive intensity often leads to easy transition buckets on offense, as well.
If the Warriors play with urgency on defense to start this game, the Blazers’ spirit could be broken very early. If not, Portland might be able to build a lead in the first half that would give the squad a chance at extending this series.
Will Trail Blazers Get Another Meyers Leonard-esque Performance?
The Trail Blazers are at a huge disadvantage in this matchup in terms of offensive firepower. C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard are great, but Lillard has separated ribs and will continue to be limited. Golden State is also doing a fantastic job trapping both guys and forcing the ball out of their hands.
For much of the postseason, Rodney Hood has been a dependable third option for the team. He had just three points in Game 3, but it is reasonable to think he will bounce back with a solid performance. Hood had scored between 12 and 25 points in seven of the previous nine games, after all.
Really, though, the Blazers need a fourth guy to surprise with an efficient 15 to 20 points. In Game 4, Meyers Leonard was that person, as he contributed 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Whether it’s Leonard again, or someone like Enes Kanter, Moe Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Seth Curry or Zach Collins, Portland just needs an offensive spark to keep the Blazers from shamelessly doubling McCollum and Lillard.
Can Blazers Make Offensive Rebounding More of a Storyline?
The Blazers led the NBA in offensive rebound percentage in the regular season. In this series, though, they have done just an OK job in that area. Their 12 offensive rebounds per game look good, but their rebound percentage isn’t great considering all the shots they are missing.
Not having Jusuf Nurkic is definitely holding Portland back here, but the team needs to do a better job of playing tough on the glass and making the Warriors work hard for their defensive rebounds.
The pressure is on Enes Kanter, Zach Collins, Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu to use their size and/or athleticism to punish the Warriors on the glass, especially when GSW plays its smaller lineups geared more toward versatility than brute strength.
Our Betting Preview’s Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers Predictions & Picks
Lillard is the engine of the Blazers and he is severely limited due to injury right now. That’s a big deal for Portland. Even though the squad wouldn’t admit it, there is probably a sense within the Blazers that they are happy with what they accomplished this season in the face of adversity.
That’s totally fair, but it does mean they probably won’t have the resolve to out-effort the Warriors by a wide enough margin to win this game. I think Golden State will have some lazy stretches in this game but should still hold on for a win. Our Game 4 Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers predictions with betting picks are as follows:
- The Warriors are favorite by 3.5 or 4 points with the most popular American sportsbooks. Your best option here is betting on the Warriors -3.5pts @ -110 with Intertops.
- Lillard’s limitations due to injury will continue to make it hard for the Blazers to score. With Kevin Durant out, the Warriors continue to find their identity on the defensive end and will really lock Portland down in Game 4. Place your bets on the under 219.5 total points @ -115 with Bovada, BetOnline or Intertops.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.