Portland Trail Blazers (3-1, 0-1 road) vs. OKC Thunder (5-1, 3-0 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.0 (7th), Blazers– 104.2 (13th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 104.5 (18th), Blazers – 96.5 (4th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (10th), Blazers – 97.6 (3rd)
View from the enemy: Portland Roundball Society
There’s no way around it: The Thunder played poorly last night. But depending on your perspective, they’ve got a chance to cleanse themselves of that or dig themselves a little deeper with a good team coming to town.
Portland coming in: The Blazers are rested, having last played against the Clippers, a loss.
Three Big Things
1. Balancing act. The way the Blazers beat you is with balanced scoring. Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace and Ray Felton do a little of it and it piles up. Aldridge is a star and obviously the focus, but pay too much attention to him and you could be letting two or three other players kill you.
2. Rebounding. It’s been an issue thus far in the season and the Blazers are a really good rebounding team. Between Marcus Camby, Aldridge and Wallace, Portland can dominate the glass on both ends. It’s important not just for Perk and Ibaka to hit the boards hard, but for the guards and KD to chip in as well.
3. Bench. Both Daequan Cook and Thabo are questionable for this one and it was pretty obvious how badly both can be needed. Cook gives OKC such a spark with a couple 3s a game and Thabo, for all the crap he can take, is a pretty nice player. The Thunder can certainly win without them, but having them helps.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Go.