OKC Thunder (37-12, 15-8 road) at Portland Trail Blazers (23-26, 16-8 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.1 (1st), Blazers– 104.9 (14th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.3 (13th), Blazers – 103.9 (14th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.3 (5th), Blazers – 91.4 (17th)
View from the enemy: Portland Roundball Society
Coming down off the high of beating the Heat, this feels like a dangerous game. Any time you play the Blazers in Portland it’s dangerous, actually. The Thunder are playing better and it’s about keeping the momentum going. And not just that, but keeping the focus leading into some big games.
Portland coming in: The Blazers beat the Warriors on Sunday.
Three Big Things
1. No fat guy. Raymond Felton won’t play tonight, which is a shame because Russell Westbrook clearly enjoyed crushing him the last time these teams met. So now that duty falls to rookie Nolan Smith who will certainly have his hands full with Westbrook. Smith isn’t very big and isn’t very quick, so Westbrook will likely try and bully him in the post and could be in for a big night.
2. LMA. The Thunder did an outstanding job on LaMarcus Aldridge in the last meeting. It was a combination of Perk, Ibaka and Collison that limited Aldridge in the pick-and-pop. Challenging him, pushing him outside and keeping him off the block is crucial. The Blazers without Felton mean the pick-and-roll game is limited, but Aldridge is still dangerous at all times.
3. Keep it rolling. That’s it. Four out of five and playing much better. Gotta keep it up.
Tip at 9:00 CT. Go Rolling.