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Portland Trail Blazers vs. OKC Thunder Gambling & NBA Handicapping Prediction

PDX vs OKC NBA Picks

The Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder have already faced off once throughout the 2013-14 NBA season, and while Portland won Round 1, it’s OKC with home-court advantage this time around. [ad-4468020]

Portland at Oklahoma City
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Spread: OKC -5.5
Over/Under: 213.5

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Entering this matchup, the Blazers and Thunder are coming off of different types of performances. Portland lost in a close matchup to the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Thunder dominated the Houston Rockets.

Both teams are fighting for supremacy in the Western Conference, and both teams will face off on New Year’s Eve.

Portland

The Portland Trail Blazers have taken down top-quality teams left and right this season—including the Oklahoma City Thunder—but what they haven’t done is beat a true contender on the road. They’ll have that opportunity on Tuesday, but it won’t come easy against one of the best teams in the Association.

At the point guard position, Damian Lillard will have the luxury of not having to guard Russell Westbrook. The Thunder’s floor general is out following successful knee surgery, which means Lillard will have plenty of energy to thrive on offense.

As fresh as Lillard’s legs should be late in the game, expect this one to be a big-time LaMarcus Aldridge performance. The Blazers’ big man has historically played well against OKC, and he’ll look to keep that trend going in this one.
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Defensively, Portland must choose one of two strategies: Hope to contain Kevin Durant, or hope to contain everyone else. Chances are, no one on the roster can stop Durant, meaning holding the role players to modest performances will be a huge indicator of how well they perform on the road.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Portland Trail Blazers have surprised everybody throughout the 2013-14 NBA season, but you can say the same thing about the Oklahoma City Thunder. Everybody knew they would be a contender, but many questioned how well they could play without Russell Westbrook. The point guard made an early return, but he’s once again out, leaving Kevin Durant to lead the way.

In this one, the Thunder will look to swarm both Aldridge and Lillard. Chances are, they won’t be able to stop every three-point shooter on the Blazers’ roster, but if they can contain the top-two scorers, they’ll be in good shape.

Look for players like Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb to step up big. Portland doesn’t have anyone who can truly stop Durant, but the superstar forward has admitted that he needs solid performances out of his role players to win moving forward.

If Durant’s teammates step up, look for OKC to walk away with a convincing win. Not many teams are as tough as the Thunder at home, and if Durant gets what he wants—help from his teammates—not even the surprising Trail Blazers can take them down at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Prediction: Oklahoma City 111 – Portland 100

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