OKC Thunder (18-5, 9-4 road) at Portland Trail Blazers (14-10, 11-1 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.3 (5th), Blazers– 104.8 (10th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.1 (13th), Blazers – 97.9 (3rd)
Pace: Thunder – 93.2 (8th), Blazers – 93.3 (5th)
View from the enemy: Portland Roundball Society
The Blazers handed Oklahoma City its only loss at home this season and afterward, Raymond Felton called out Russell Westbrook for not being a team player. And here’s the shame: Felton is doubtful for tonight, so we’re not going to get to see how Westbrook would’ve responded to that.
But it’s a big, tough game for the Thunder on the road after a bad showing in San Antonio Saturday night. Winning in Portland isn’t easy as the Blazers are 11-1 at the Rose Garden. The Thunder could use a good bounce back game and with this road trip off to a bad start, a win in Portland would make things look a bit better.
Portland coming in: The Blazers beat up the Nuggets on Saturday.
Three Big Things
1. Wallace on KD. Durant might say someone else, but Gerald Wallace is maybe the best defender for Kevin Durant. He’s long, tough and does an excellent job of not fouling. Of all the guys that can check Durant decently, Wallace is maybe the best.
2. Defending LMA. LaMarcus Aldridge is a nightmare matchup because he’s such a terrific inside-out big man. He can score on the block with his baseline turnaround jumper but he’s probably most deadly in the pick-and-pop game at the top of the key. The Thunder have to focus on keeping Aldridge in the teens and away from a big 30-point type of night. Otherwise, that means the Blazers were getting easy baskets and the Thunder were not.
3. Shoot well. When the Thunder play the Blazers, it often is just a matter if OKC shoots the ball well. Because Portland is one of those teams that does a great job of turning the Thunder into jumpshooters. If OKC has issues shooting and makes only three or four 3s and shoots around 40 percent, it will be tough to win. Get to the free throw line, take high percentage shots and keep the turnovers down.
Tip at 9:00 CT. Go Best Team.