The Portland Trail Blazers start their six-game journey against an offensive powerhouse that could easily give them a lot of problems.
The Atlanta Hawks rank 11th in offensive rating (114.3) and 8th in points per game (116.9). Their backcourt of Trae Young (27.1 ppg) and Dejounte Murray (20.8) form one of the NBA’s best duos. They also have length with the 6-foot-8 De’Andre Hunter, 6-9 John Collins and 6-10 Clint Capella.
The Blazers defeated Atlanta 129-125 on Jan. 30 with defensive help from center Jusuf Nurkic and forward Josh Hart. Hart now plays for the New York Knicks and Nurkic is out with a calf injury. The Blazers’ defensive rating since Nurkic’s departure is 124.
The Blazers will likely need to score north of 125 points to win this game, which could be a challenge without Anfernee Simons, doubtful with an ankle injury.
However, the Hawks’ defense is mediocre with a rating of 114.5 (21st).
Atlanta (31-31) is eighth in the Eastern Conference standings and faces a four-game trip, two in Miami (33-30) and two in Washington (30-32), after playing the Blazers.
Expect the Hawks to be highly motivated to leave Atlanta after a win.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS AT ATLANTA HAWKS
What: Trail Blazers (29-32) at Hawks (31-31), Friday, 4:30 p.m.
Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta.
Radio: Rip City Radio (KPOJ 620 AM).
TV channel: Root Sports Plus (in Portland: Comcast 1253, DirecTV 687-1).
Watch the game live online: You can watch this game live for FREE with fuboTV (free trial). You can also get this game in DirecTV Stream’s “CHOICE” package (promotional offers) if you are out of fuboTV trials or just prefer this platform and its pricing plans. If you already have a cable or satellite provider showing Root Sports and want to watch online, you can watch this game live on Root Sports Live.
OPPORTUNITIES (Oregon Lottery/DraftKings)
money line: POR +235 | ATL-280
spread: POR+7 | About Below: 240
Blazer: Fernee Simons (Right ankle sprain) is doubtful. Yusuf Nurkic (left calf strain), Justify Winslow (left ankle sprain), Ibou Badji (pain in left knee), Ryan Arcidiacono (lower back pain) and John Butler Jr. (G League) are out.
Hawks: Trae Young (right groin pain) is likely.
The Blazers play Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Orlando Magic (26-37).