NBA Odds & Picks for Hornets vs. Trail Blazers: Back Portland to Snap Its Losing Streak (Monday, March 1)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Rodney Hood #5, Damian Lillard #0, Carmelo Anthony #00 and Anfernee Simons #1 of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Hornets vs. Trail Blazers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||-6|
|Moneyline||+188 / -230|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
With just four days remaining until the break, we kick off the month of March with a late night battle between the Portland Trail Blazers (18-14, 17-15 ATS) and the Charlotte Hornets (15-17, 17-14-1 ATS).
We couldn’t ask for a better matchup between an MVP candidate and the likely Rookie of the Year. This should high-scoring game, too, as both teams are at the top of the league in 3-point frequency and percentage while ranking towards the bottom in defense.
Can the Blazers snap their four game losing streak and close off the first half of the season on a high note or can the young and feisty Hornets Let’s find out.
This most recent road trip has been everything Hornets staff and fans should want out of this team. They’ve been competitive against some of the best teams in the league (Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns), however they’re losing enough games to maintain their high draft capital to build for the future.
A large part of that is rookie sensation LaMelo Ball who is the odds on favorite to win Rookie of the Year Award and is averaging 15 points, 6.1 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game. Since taking over the starting role in the absence of Devonte’ Graham, Ball is averaging 19.8 points per game while shooting 40.5% from behind the arc. The Hornets also have the 12th best Offensive Rating in the league during that time period, scoring 113.8 points per 100 possessions.
Much of that can be attributed to their hot shooting (38.1% on 3s), which ranks tied for seventh in the NBA with the Trail Blazers. Although the Hornets are below average in scoring at the rim and the mid-range, they can light it up from 3-point range, which goes a long way toward keeping them in games. They have eight rotation players who are shooting above 35% from deep and Malik Monk, Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward are all shooting above 40% this season.
For good reason, they’re launching 38.3% of their field goal attempts from 3-point range and they needed every 3 to fall in last night’s come from behind win over the Kings.
Even those who follow the NBA on a daily basis would be hard pressed to find a situation where a team was down eight points with 58 seconds to go and still won in regulation, but the Hornets pulled it off thanks to an inexplicable series of events culminating in a Monk And-1 to take the lead.
Overall, this is a team that is winning games based on its offense as this isn’t a very good defense. The Hornets rank 21st in Defensive Rating (112.1 points per 100 possessions), according to NBA Advanced Stats. They rank 28th in eFG% allowed (56.3%) and rank towards the bottom of the league defending every area of the floor, including at the rim where they allow teams to shoot 65%.
As great the Hornets are at taking and making 3s, they are terrible defending against them, allowing opponents to make 38.1% from behind the arc. That doesn’t bode well against a Blazers team that is has the second-highest frequency of 3-point field goal attempts.
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Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers appear ready for the break and you can’t blame them. Damian Lillard has admirably carries the team without their second- and third-leading scorers CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. But it wasn’t going to be sustainable for Portland continually play at the level it did to start the month of February, which included an 8-2 stretch and a six-game winning streak.
If you’ve followed the Blazers during Lillard era, you’re already aware that the they aren’t winning any games with their defense. This season, they rank 28th in Defensive Rating, allowing 117.2 points per 100 possessions.
That said, the Blazers’ offense is scoring 116.8 points per 100 possessions in its non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass — sixth best in the NBA. Their offense is highly dependent on making 3s and only the Utah Jazz take a higher frequency of 3-point attempts at 43.0%.
Unfortunately for the Blazers, they’ve shot just 32.6% from behind the arc during their four game losing streak and subsequently posted an offensive rating of just 105.9. Even Lillard has seen his efficiency plummet from his usual averages recently and I see this as a product of playing two of the league’s best defenses in the Suns and Lakers as well as some fatigue and variance.
Their performance against the Wizards was by far the most troubling and shocking as they scored just 12 points in the second quarter and 19 points in the fourth in a game they lost by seven. Nonetheless, the Hornets’ defense could be the perfect elixir for a Blazers offense that has struggled over the past four games.
Hornets-Trail Blazers Pick
This is a dreadful spot for the Hornets playing in the fifth game of a six-game West coast road trip and coming off a back-to-back game where their starters went all out to get a comeback win. A big reason the Kings squandered last night’s game is because they’ve essentially been playing eight players heavy minutes for the majority of this week.
The Blazers won’t come into this game tired as they’ve had two days rest and will be looking to bounce back from their four game losing streak to build some momentum going into the All-Star break.
From a numbers perspective, I don’t particularly love laying six points with the Blazers as my projections make this line lower, however the spot and situation lends itself towards laying the points with the Blazers.
Look for them to bounce back and win this game by 10 points or more.
Pick: Portland Trailblazers -6 (-110)