The regular season is over and the NBA playoff seeding has been set. The No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers will take on No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
While Portland is the higher seed going into Sunday’s showdown, many members of the media think the Trail Blazers can’t hang with OKC. The good news for Portland fans? Not a lot of people have the Blazers getting swept in the first round. The bad news? Not a lot of people have the Blazers getting past the first round.
Let’s first take a look at what people are saying about the Blazers-Thunder matchup.
NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh picked OKC to win the series in six games, but says Portland won’t go down without a fight.
“The Thunder are a horrible matchup for the Blazers, but with McCollum back and Lillard elevating his playmaking abilities, I think the Blazers avoid the brooms but can’t avoid the upset.”
Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report also has the Thunder winning in six games.
“Portland didn’t collect a prize for its regular-season work, though. OKC is a brutal draw. The Thunder swept the season series 4-0—the only other team with a 4-0 knockout of its first-round opponent was Milwaukee—and have the length and athleticism to pester Portland on the perimeter. Russell Westbrook and Paul George are statistical prodigies, and Steven Adams could be the difference-maker with Jusuf Nurkic out. Prediction: Thunder in six”
ESPN's Michelle Beadle, Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups, and Stan Van Gundy broke down the Western Conference playoff bracket and gave their take on which teams would advance. Billups called the guard matchup between Lillard and Westbrook "very intriguing," while Piece called OKC the "better team" due to Portland's injuries.
"I just don't see Portland beating them (Oklahoma City)," Piece said.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News predicted a 4-2 series between the Blazers and Thunder with OKC advancing to the second round.
"It was an all-around breakout season for Nurkic, and it’s too bad that he will miss this postseason. It would have been interesting to see whether the Blazers’ new approach could be carried into the playoffs. But it was not to be. That leaves the door open for the Thunder to advance."
So…does anyone have the Blazers winning?
A panel of CBS experts covering the NBA shared their thoughts on how the Blazers will fare against the Thunder. Of the six members who cast predictions, only one, Brad Botkin, chose the Blazers to win the series. He says Portland will win the series in seven games.
KGW sports reporter Art Edwards picked Blazers in six, while Chad Doing of Rip City Radio 620 took Portland to win in seven games. KGW sports anchor Orlando Sanchez predicted Oklahoma City in seven games.
"I've seen enough from CJ to know that he's going to have that minutes restricted lifted which will give them a much-needed boost on the offensive end. Hard fought series, not easy, but I'll take the Blazers in seven," Doing said.
So what does our staff at NBCS Northwest predict? Check out this video to find out.