Because the NBA is going dark on Christmas Eve and only 10 teams play on Christmas, it needs to fit as many games as possible into the other days this week. Thus it’s a very busy Wednesday schedule in the Association with perhaps the marquee matchup of the night featuring the Spurs in Portland. Let’s see who’s the NBA pick for this game. Check back for MyBookie for the latest NBA lines around game time.
San Antonio at Portland NBA Pick & Expert Analysis
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 19, 2017
When: Wednesday, 10 PM ET
Where: Moda Center, Portland
TV: NBA League Pass/FSSW/CSNN
Radio: WOAI 1200 (San Antonio) / (Portland)
NBA Odds: TBA
Somehow, this is the first meeting of the 2017-18 season between the Western Conference rivals. The Spurs split against the Trail Blazers last season. In the first meeting the Spurs defeated the Trail Blazers 110-90 at Moda Center. Kawhi Leonard led the team in scoring as he tallied 33 points. Lamarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 14 rebounds. Damian Lillard had 16 points, 10 assists and five rebounds in the loss.
In the second matchup, the Spurs won 110-94 at home. There were five Spurs in double figures, led by Jonathon Simmons (now with Magic) who tallied 19 points. CJ McCollum had a game-high 29 for Portland. In the third meeting, San Antonio lost at home 110-106. Leonard had 34 points. Lillard had 36. In the last meeting, the Blazers won 99-98 at home. Shabazz Napier had a game-best 32 points for Portland. Shabazz Napier!?? Lillard was out.
Why Bet on San Antonio as your NBA Pick?
Leonard averaged 28.3 points (61.7% FG, 62.5% 3-PT, 94.4% FT), 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.67 steals in three games against Portland last season. He’s playing more and more minutes after just recently making his season debut off a quad injury.
The Spurs got a very unlikely win Saturday over Dallas. Manu Ginobili was the hero during a comeback 98-96 win, scoring 12 points with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and no turnovers in 23 minutes. He hit a game-winning layup to cap a 13-0 run in the final four minutes. Ginobili, 40, also forced a turnover the play before the layup and he also assisted LaMarcus Aldridge to get the game to within two. The Spurs sat Leonard, Danny Green and Tony Parker but they should all play here.
It was Ginobili’s 11th game this season in which he has scored in double figures. There are only five 40-year-olds with more double-figure scoring games in a season: Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Robert Parish, John Stockton, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. Ginobili is also one of three players in NBA history to average 8/2/2 at age 40 or older along with John Stockton and Karl Malone.
The Spurs already have reached the 20-win plateau and it’s the 16th season they had had 20+ wins in their first 30 games in the Gregg Popovich era. No other team in the NBA has more than 8 in that time. Aldridge has led the team in scoring in 25 out of the team’s 30 games, the most games a player has lead a team in scoring in the entire NBA this season.
Popovich is just the third coach in NBA history to reach 500 road wins and the fastest to ever do so (835 games). He is now just 19 road wins short of having the most wins on the road of any coach in NBA history.
- Average Score For: 101.48
- Field Goals: 45.66%
- Three Points: 35.66%
- Free Throws: 78.16%
- Rebounds: 44.52
- Average Score Against: 98.13
- Field Goals: 45.35%
- Three Points: 35.05%
- Free Throws: 72.32%
- Rebounds: 41.19
Why Bet on Portland as your NBA Pick?
The Trail Blazers have won at least two games against the Spurs in four of the last five seasons Lillard averaged 26.0 points (46.3% FG, 30.8% 3-PT, 90.9 FT), 4.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in two games against San Antonio last season. McCollum averaged 23.7 points (45.1% FG, 42.9% 3-PT, 95.0% FT), 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in three games. In one game against the Spurs with Portland last season, Jusuf Nurkic notched 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, four steals and one block. He of course was acquired during the year from Denver.
The Blazers are trying to give first-round rookie big man Zach Collins more time, but he keeps getting into foul trouble. Collins has averaged 6.2 fouls per 40 minutes in his lone year at Gonzaga. That number has jumped to 7.0 fouls per 40 minutes in his rookie campaign. He’s second only to fellow rookie Caleb Swanigan’s 7.4 per 40. Collins has committed at least two fouls in seven of his 13 games. He even fouled out once, doing so in 25 minutes during the Blazers’ Dec. 11 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Meanwhile, Al-Farouq Aminu is having a career season and has been the team’s third-best player behind Lillard and McCollum. Aminu is averaging career high numbers in the following categories: points, blocks, 3-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, offensive rating, box plus/minus, and on track to blow away his previous win share total. Aminu is one of the best 3-point shooters in the entire league, shooting over 47% from beyond the arc. He is shooting 4.5 threes per game, and making 2.1 of them.
Lillard has the third-most free throws in the NBA and ranks seventh in the NBA in free throw percentage (92.6%). Lillard is one of four NBA players averaging 25+ points, 5+ rebounds and 6+ assists this season. McCollum is shooting 44.3% from the three-point line, the 15th-best mark in the league.
- Average Score For: 102.80
- Field Goals: 44.66%
- Three Points: 37.82%
- Free Throws: 81.20%
- Rebounds: 45.40
- Average Score Against: 100.77
- Field Goals: 44.27%
- Three Points: 34.83%
- Free Throws: 74.63%
- Rebounds: 41.37
Expert Prediction & NBA Pick for Wednesday
If Leonard plays, and I see no reason why he wouldn’t, take San Antonio.