OKC Thunder (50-24, 22-14 road) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (43-32, 26-10 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 111.0 (6th), Blazers– 108.6 (10th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 107.0 (15th), Blazers – 106.8 (14th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.7 (12th), Blazers – 88.1 (30th)
View from the enemy: Portland Roundball Society
OKC is 3-0 versus Portland so sweeping a team, especially on their home floor, won’t be easy. But the Thunder will be ready. They’re rolling after a great March so OKC should play well. But beating the Blazers will definitely be a challenge.
Portland coming in: The Blazers last played Wednesday losing to New Orleans.
A good number of matchups across the board to watch. First, Andre Miller and Russell Westbrook. (Westbrook left today’s shootaround because of a personal matter but is expected to play.) Obviously Westbrook is faster and more athletic, but Miller is one of the smartest and craftiest veteran point men in the league. He’s great at getting into the paint, posting and scoring when you don’t expect it.
Wesley Matthews starts at shooting guard but he shares time there with Brandon Roy. Thabo Sefolosha will need to bring a strong defensive game checking those two, but this could be a good night for James Harden to see a good amount of time. You want Matthews and Roy guarding on the other end and Harden will press them.
Nicolas Batum is a good defender and has some length to check Kevin Durant. In the past Batum has done a fair job on KD. But Batum is no longer a one way player. He’s not just a good outside shooter, but he can get to the rim and score as well. However, the last game Gerald Wallace switched to Durant for a lot of the second half and did a terrific job.
And of course Wallace torched OKC for 40 on the other end.
Kendrick Perkins on LaMarcus Aldridge and Serge Ibaka on Marcus Camby and Wallace with certainly be the focus. Perk will play Aldridge very physical while Aldridge will likely try and pull Perk away from the basket. Wallace is quicker than Ibaka so he’ll try and take him off the dribble. Keeping Camby off the glass is key.
Tip at 9:00 CT. Go WoRd ApP.