Trail Blazers vs. Jazz NBA Picks
Can Damian Lillard bounce back when the Trail Blazers visit the Jazz on Thursday night?
Portland Trail Blazers (14-17) vs. Utah Jazz (18-12)
Wednesday, December 26 at 10:30 PM ET (TNT), Vivint Smart Home Arena
Damian Lillard had a rough night against the Pelicans last Monday, going 0-for-10 from beyond the arc in a 102-94 home loss. Lillard (plus-7.0 Offensive Box Plus/Minus), had just 18 points on 6 of 21 shooting and the Trail Blazers won’t beat the Jazz unless he gets back on track.
Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Trail Blazers with 23 points and nine rebounds and CJ McCollum added 20 points but was just 2-for-10 from beyond the arc. Portland won’t win many games with Lillard and McCollum going a combined 2-for-10 from distance. Overall the team was a horrific 4-for-29 on 3-point shots (13.8 percent). They also need to get more from their bench, as the Pelicans’ reserves outscored them 27-19 and the Jazz have very deep them that just added a reinforcement.
Clarkson to Debut?
The Jazz sent Dante Exum and two second-round picks to the Cavaliers for Jordan Clarkson last Tuesday. Clarkson (plus-3.6 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) averaged 14.6 points off the bench in 23.0 minutes over 29 games for the Cavs and he will help them replace Mike Conley (minus-0.8 Offensive Box Plus/Minus), who has missed eight of his last nine games because of a hamstring injury and Jeff Green (minus-2.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus), who was waived on Tuesday.
Clarkson could be a nice fit for the Jazz, improving their bench play significantly and he might make his debut with the team on Thursday but it will take more than a solid game from him to get the Jazz to cover -5.5 points at home.
The Heat beat the Jazz 107-104 in Miami last Monday and Donovan Mitchell’s performance had a lot to do with it. Mitchell had just 13 points on 5 of 18 shooting and 1 of 6 from beyond the arc. Joe Ingles stepped up with a team-best 27 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 19 points and Rudy Gobert was dominant with 18 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks.
The Portland Trail Blazers are:
21-7 ATS in their last 28 Thursday games
The Utah Jazz are:
3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a home favorite
2-7 ATS in their last nine games playing on two days rest
1-5 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win
The key to this game will be the matchup between Damian Lillard and Donovan Mitchell. Both need to play much better than they did last time out. The Jazz are 11-3 at home and they’re playing well but I like the Trail Blazers getting 5.5 points on the road, Lillard and McCollum won’t miss 18 3-pointers combined again and not having Mike Conley is a big loss for the Jazz.
NBA Pick: Trail Blazers +5.5 (-108) at Nitrogen Sports
– Eduardo Solano