Portland Trail Blazers (6-3, 3-2 road) vs. OKC Thunder (4-3, 2-2 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 105.3 (19th), Blazers – 109.4 (7th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 109.3 (24th), Blazers – 104.5 (8th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.7 (17th), Blazers – 89.5 (29th)
View from the enemy: Portland Roundball Society
If you have plans tonight, I suggest you break them. Put off the movie you were going to see, eat an early dinner or skip your kids’ ballgame. You don’t want to miss Thunder-Blazers: Part II.
We all remember the last meeting, OKC’s overtime win. I still don’t really know how the Thunder got it done that night. But between that win and some of the better signs shown against the Sixers, there’s reason to feel decent about this game.
Portland coming in: The Blazers are 3-3 in their last six, but have won two of three. They last played on Tuesday against the Pistons, and they blew them out, so they’re well rested.
Interesting tonight because Brandon Roy isn’t his normal self. He’s having knee issues but is battling through them. The Blazers have supposedly removed isolation plays for Roy from the gameplan. So Thabo should be able to hold Roy down some if all he is tonight is a spot-up shooter.
Nicolas Batum is again a good defender and does well on Kevin Durant. But don’t forget about Batum as a scorer. He’s a knock down 3-point shooter and his athleticism can get him to the rim where he can finish.
There’s no Jeff Green again, but that might work out fine for OKC as Serge Ibaka will get LaMarcus Aldridge from the tip. But with no Green, OKC needs scoring help from somewhere. I’m looking at you, James Harden.
Then of course there is Russell Westbrook against Andre Miller. Miller really was deadly with the lobs in the last meeting and Westbrook was equally good off the dribble. Whoever owns this matchup will likely lead their team to victory.
It’s another big meeting in the division between two kind-of-rivals. It’s big for a number of reasons, but the Thunder really needs to protect home court. Right now, OKC is 2-2 at home and these type of games need to be won. The Thunder stole one on the road from Portland, so a home win here would be a nice leg up.
Tip at 8:30 CT. Go Rumblers.