Paul George may have been someone who was troubled in the opening game of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Western Conference series against the Portland Trail Blazers, but he may indeed have shaken himself out what could perhaps be described as a position of “rust.” But his teammates have their work cut out for them as they are down two games to none in the series.
And they’ll lace ’em up again, this time on Friday night at the Ford Center, with a starting time of 9:35 PM ET. What is unique about the experience with VietBet is that not only do they give you the best deal anywhere in the online sportsbook industry with reduced juice, they also allow you to keep the action going, even after the game has tipped off, by accessing what is available with Live Betting Ultra.
2019 NBA Playoffs Betting: Game 3 – OKC vs Portland
Here are the odds for Friday’s Game 3, as they are posted at VietBet – and note that these numbers come with reduced juice:
Oklahoma City Thunder -7.5 (-105)
Portland Trail Blazers +7.5 (-105)
Over 221.5 points -105
Under 221.5 points -105
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2019 NBA Playoffs Betting: CJ’s Take on OKC in Game 3 vs Portland
George had a shoulder injury that had kept him out of action for the season finale against Milwaukee, so he was battling soreness and, to an extent, inactivity as he took the floor for Game 1, having only practiced lightly. He produced a night where he made only eight of 24 shots, so there were questions about whether he was actually close to being healthy. In fact, there was speculation in mainstream media about whether the Thunder was being honest about the severity of the injury. George shook it off and told reporters it was just a matter of getting into rhythm.
There was better rhythm in Game 2, apparently, as he went 11-for-20 from the field and had 27 points. After playing 43 and 41 minutes in these two games, there shouldn’t be a lot of concern about his health.
But there is concern throughout the OKC organization, as the Thunder lost first by a 104-99 score, then collapsed in the third quarter of an eventual 114-94 defeat on Tuesday night.
The guy who had an especially rough night was Russell Westbrook, who made just five of 20 shots, although he satisfied his thirst for stats with eleven assists and nine rebounds. There was some awful shooting all around, and that has to pick up or else the Thunder will be “under,” no matter where they are playing.
When we say OKC has been shooting poorly, we really mean it – in these two games, they have gone 5-of-33 and 5-of-28 from three-point range. That’s just 16.4%. The biggest culprits, of course, are George and Westbrook, who has been a combined 7-for-31 (22.6%). The solution? Well, according to George, it’s “keep shooting.”
Really, what else can the Thunder do? These guys are the focal point of the offense, and when they have a bad outing, it is very difficult for them to get offense from elsewhere. And this has been a problem for the OKC franchise through the years in the playoffs; when you’re in a series, the opponent can really zero in on players from a defensive standpoint. They know where people like Westbrook, for example, like to shoot from, and they take those spots away. And when one of these star players starts to miss, they force up bad shots and then it kind of snowballs.
When you are able to do that, you have literally handcuffed them, because the team offensive concept isn’t really there. That was the case when Westbrook was teamed up with Durant, and now the same as he plays with George. And maybe this is one reason the Thunder, with all the superstar talent they have had (in fact, MVP’s Westbrook, Durant and James Harden all at the same time), have made it as far as the NBA Finals only once.
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