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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 7:00 PM

The Golden State Warriors took a big hit to their hopes to set an all-time NBA record with 73 victories here in the 2015-16 season Friday night when they lost at home to the Boston Celtics.

That left the Warriors 68-8 on the way to what they hope will be at least a 73-9 finish. They can only afford one more loss! With two games left against the San Antonio Spurs, the margin for error is basically now non-existent heading into Sunday night’s nationally televised meeting with the Portland Trailblazers on the NBA Network. If GS loses to the Blazers…it will take a sweep of the Spurs and a perfect finish to reach 73 victories.

There are other reasons that Portland/Golden State is worth checking out, as you wait for Monday Night’s NCAA Championship game. The Blazers and Warriors could be second round opponents in the Western Conference playoffs. Portland is currently a #6 seed…but can catch slumping Memphis for #5…particularly with Memphis having two games left against the Warriors. You should already be scouting out playoff handicapping opportunities!

Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about Sunday’s matchup. Note that Portland is on night two of a back-to-back, which might help counteract the fatigue problems Golden State has been showing in recent days.


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Portland: 105.7 per 100 possessions (#7 in the NBA)

Golden State: 112.4 per 100 possessions (#1 in the NBA)

You probably knew that Golden State has one of the most dangerous offenses EVER. They’re #1 this year on a per-possession basis, while also playing one of the fastest tempos in the league. Portland has done very well themselves, particularly compared to early season expectations. Remember, the Blazers were supposed to be a doormat this season! Portland did have a great shooting night in an earlier upset of the Warriors. They’ll need to do that again to keep this one close.


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Portland: 105.3 per 100 possessions (#20 in the NBA)

Golden State: 100.7 per 100 possessions (#4 in the NBA)

The media should pay a lot more attention to Golden State’s defense. Defense wins championships! It’s harder to do because of a fast tempo that inflates scoring. On a per-possession basis, Golden State is fourth best in the league at denying points. Portland really falls by the wayside here, suggesting a bleak outing for the playoffs. It’s tough to stay perpetually hot on offense…which a team ranked #20 in defense would have to do to keep winning. Big edge here to the hosts…particularly with the back-to-back edge. Portland’s defense isn’t good when it’s fresh!


Pace Ranking

Portland: #13

Golden State: #2

Portland is close to league average (out of 30 teams), while Golden State races downcourt to embarrass you. Will either team have the legs to run-and-gun here? The danger of Golden State playing this way is that they wear themselves out, particularly when short-handed with injuries. The danger of chasing the all-time win record is that they won’t have enough left for a grueling playoff drive.


Against the Spread

Portland: 42-34 (42-34 to the Over)

Golden State: 41-33-2 (41-34-1 to the Over)

Both teams have been moneymakers this year. But, tiring Golden State is just 2-6 ATS their last eight games after that home loss as a big favorite over Boston. Not only has the line caught up…but GS now may be “overrated” because of the “must-win” nature of each game in their run at history. Note that both teams have been skewing Over at a pace similar to their success against the spread. Both offenses have been underrated through the season.

JIM HURLEY has plenty of NBA options to choose from as we gear up for another AWESOME APRIL. There’s also THREE big baseball games on DAY ONE of the 2016 MLB season!

*St. Louis (Wainwright) at Pittsburgh (Liriano)

*Toronto (Stroman) at Tampa Bay (Archer)

*NY Mets (Harvey) at Kansas City (Volquez)

You can purchase BEST BETS from JIM HURLEY in ALL SPORTS right here at the website with your credit card every day. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 Sunday morning before the action gets started. Sign up for any long term NBA or MLB package and we’ll be happy to include Monday night’s NCAA Championship game.

Back with you Monday crunch the numbers in the NCAA Championship. When championships are on the line, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

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