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Portland’s Damian Lillard (left) is defended by Golden State’s  Klay Thompson in Game 2 on May 16 (Jeff Chiu)
Portland’s Damian Lillard (left) is defended by Golden State’s Klay Thompson in Game 2 on May 16 (Jeff Chiu)|Associated Press
NBA

NBA Saturday: Frank on Warriors v Trail Blazers, Durant, Lillard, Aminu, Hood, Harkless, Kanter

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Warriors (+2) @ Trail Blazers (221.5)
Pick: Warriors First Quarter +1.5

Pick: Trail Blazers -2

The value here is too good to pass on with the Warriors in the opening 12 minutes. Their ball movement and overall offensive flow since Kevin Durant’s injury has reminded us all of how elite they were before Durant arrived. We wrote about Golden State’s very high cover rate in first quarters last round and getting them plus a point and a hook in the first quarter is way too enticing to say no to. The Warriors also started slow on Thursday so look for them to come out focused knowing they’re going to get a desperate bunch of Trail Blazers.

However, despite liking Golden State in the first quarter, I continue to believe Portland will at least compete hard for this entire series and if it does that then it will win at least one game. Saturday would seem like the right spot for the Trail Blazers to get on the board in the Western Conference Finals. They won both their home openers in the previous two playoff series and it’s evident that the Moda Center crowd gives them a lift. We still have not seen the best of Damian Lillard in this series, but most of the Trail Blazers raised their level on Thursday. Role players like Al-Farouq Aminu, Rodney Hood, Moe Harkless and Enes Kanter should all have their moments tonight and when you put it all together, it should be a nice team win for Portland to dig in against the Warriors and try to make a series out of this. It won’t be easy, and it probably comes down to the wire, but I still like the Trail Blazers enough to give them out in this handicap in addition to Golden State in the first quarter.