NBA Basketball Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Portland Trailblazers

NBA Basketball Preview:  Cleveland Cavaliers at Portland Trailblazers

Wednesday night’s betting board features non-conference NBA action on the banks of the Willamette River as the Portland Trailblazers welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Moda Center (which we’re *still* calilng ‘The Rose Garden’). Portland has been one of the more pleasant surprises of the first half of the season–they’ve endured plenty of injuries and just bad luck in recent years but everything has come together nicely this season. After failing to make the playoffs last season the Blazers are 28-9 and right at the top of not only the Western Conference standings but in contention for the best overall record in the league. Cleveland at least has some hope for the future–Kyrie Irving is a legit superstar and the recently acquired Luol Deng gives the team some much needed depth–but this season they’ve slumped to a 14-24 record. The good news is that they’re still in the playoff hunt thanks to the overall substandard play of the entire Eastern Conference.

Cleveland was fairly competitive against the Blazers on their home floor in early December, losing 119-116 but covering the pointspread as +4′ home favorites. Unfortunately, this game sets up very poorly for the Cavs. Cleveland beat the LA Lakers in a tough game last night and now must play the second of back to back games in one of the most formidable home court venues in the league. This is Cleveland’s fourth road game in a five game trip so they could be feeling some fatigue while the Blazers will be well rested having been idle since a Saturday home game. Portland does have a big game at San Antonio on the docket for Friday night but so far this season they’ve done a decent job of staying focused and not getting caught up in ‘lookahead’ situations.

As if the scheduling situation wasn’t bad enough the tactical matchup just isn’t favorable for the Cavs. Cleveland is a very mediocre team defending the perimeter and ranks as a below average 3 point defensive team. That could be a huge issue here since the Blazers shoot the three pointer as well as anyone in the league, currently ranking #2 in three point percentage by a fractional margin. This game has all the makings of a rout.