Portland Trail Blazers (30-18, 12-13 road) vs. OKC Thunder (11-38, 8-18 home)
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Offensive Rating: Thunder: 102.8 (28th), Portland: 113.6 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder: 109.3 (21st), Portland: 109.1 (19th)
Pace: Thunder: 93.7 (7th), Portland: 86.1 (30th)
The story lines are there. We got Oden vs. Durant for the first time. We’ve got the “rivalry,” that really isn’t a rivalry at all. The slow-it-down Blazer offense against the high-tempo OKC game. Blazer head coach Nate McMillan against his former team – sort of.
But the best storyline is that it’s a Friday night game against an exciting team that I hope to be like in the next one or two years. The Blazers have built a contender through primarily the draft, the same way Sam Presti is trying to do, and have a strong, young core.
As for the game, the Blazers are on a quick three-game roadie and lost at Dallas Wednesday night. But like a lot of teams, they’re very mediocre on the road (12-13). Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge will be a handful for the Thunder tonight because OKC really can’t match that size inside. While there’s a bunch of big guys at OKC’s disposal, I don’t know if any of them really match up all that well. And Brandon Roy is one of my favorite professional athletes. He’s the rare combination of Glue Guy that does all the little things with superstar talent. I wish OKC had him. I wish he could be my favorite player.
But instead of your typical, what we need to do, what they do well, who’s gonna win thing, I did a little question and answer with OregonLive.com and you can find that HERE. And they were kind enough to return the favor as Sean Meagher answered a few questions:
What’s the general feeling toward Oklahoma City from the Blazer perspective? Some from the Pacific Northwest genuinely hate us. Is it that way in Rip City?
I think for the most part yes. The I-5 Rivalry was a long-standing tradition between the Blazers and Sonics. Other than the proximity and familiarity between the two franchises, I think it hit a little to close to home with owner Paul Allen putting the Blazers up for sale (as short-lived as it was) not too long before the Supes were sold. And I think the general feeling is that Clay Bennett stole the team from Seattle.