This is the second and last game between the Blazers and Hawks this season. Game one was not kind to Atlanta as they lost in Portland by 24 points and really never got anything going; closest they ever were was down 9. The Blazers need to get back on track, they have lost a few games recently to post season teams and they need to start getting the aggressiveness back in their play. A few nights ago Portland took Miami to the edge, with 27 seconds left the game was tied; unfortunately LeBron hit a layup and in the closing seconds with a chance to Tie Bosh came up with the Block that sealed the deal.
The Trail Blazers know that this is the season they have been waiting for, they have great chemistry and they play their game to the T. This team is heading into a difficult post season, the West is unforgiving and even though they play well on the road, playoff basketball is an entirely different game. Lillard must lead this team, he must become the all-around player this team needs today in order to propel this team to new heights.
Atlanta is thankful the season is coming to its end; they will have time off to be with their families and forget this unforgiving year. I expect big changes to this Hawks roster starting next season and it will be interesting to see how they approach free agency. In this particular game the Hawks must fight for every loose ball, rebound on both sides and really work the postgame. Defensively they must slow the transition game and make sure the help defense is around.
Pick: The Blazers are -14.5 in this game and normally in an NBA game especially close to playoff time with a team already locked in I would play the dog, but Portland has something to prove, they need to get back on track, so with that said my play is Portland.