The team I've always loved to hate, the Portland Trail Blazers, will invade the WFC tonight with their jumper-heavy offense. If the Sixers decide to show up, this is another one they could push into the win column.
Two things immediately jump out when you take a look at the Blazers' numbers. First, they have three guys averaging more than six 3PA per game. Second, Lamarcus Aldridge continues to move his game further and further away from the hoop. If you can limit the first and encourage the second, the Blazers are extremely beatable.
Here's the formula. On the pick-and-pop, the big needs to be more concerned with hedging out high to stop Lillard from shooting threes than Aldridge fading for a 20-footer. On drives, help cannot come from the outside. The wings need to stay extremely disciplined and stay with both Wes Matthews and Nicolas Batum. Those three guys make 7 threes per game. Chase them off the line. Make them take a step in. Make them drive. If they insist, make them hit threes with a hand in their face. Turner especially needs to stay focused on his man. If he plays his usual inattentive off-the-ball defense, his man is going to light the Sixers up from deep.
On the offensive end, Portland won't put up much of a fight. They have the #10 offense, #25 defense. Batum is their only plus defender. Up front, they're woeful. Just woeful. Do the job on defense and you're going to score enough to beat them without having to jump through too many hoops.
The tip is at 7pm. Use this as your game thread. I'll be watching on DVR, with a warm, fuzzy feeling because LMA and Brandon Roy will go another season without winning a round in the playoffs.