Trail Blazers (31-10, 15-6 road) vs. Thunder (31-10, 18-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 108.9 (7th), Blazers – 114.2 (1st)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 101.4 (3rd), Blazers – 107.7 (20th)
Pace: Thunder – 96.2 (6th), Blazers – 95.3 (10th)
The Blazers come in to Oklahoma City on the second night of a back-to-back and playing their third game in four nights, with the previous tilts coming against the Spurs, Mavericks and Rockets, of which they won two of three. So, that’s to say, the Thunder should have an advantage here.
But the Blazers are 2-0 against the Thunder this season, with one of those wins coming in OKC as the Thunder blew a fourth quarter lead in their second game without Russell Westbrook. The offense fell apart, Kevin Durant didn’t make shots, and as a team, the Thunder basically gave one completely away.
Tonight, they’ve got a great chance to make things right, and put away a fourth straight win. The Blazers are good, and have proven resilient, but the circumstances favor OKC tonight.
Three Big Things
1. D. The Blazers have the best offense in basketball, particularly with an explosive starting five. They can hit 3s in piles and if the Thunder slack or lapse, it’s going to be a repeat of the first half against the Rockets. The Thunder have had problems against Portland’s starting five, but that’s no surprise, as everyone has.
2. Serge Ibaka. Three straight games with 20. Can he produce a fourth? The Thunder are going to need to play big defense, but they’re going to have to score to keep pace with the Blazers. Durant’s capable of a big number, but can Ibaka provide the support behind him?
3. LMA. Who’s going to stop him? Anyone? Nope? OK, so who’s at least going to make his life somewhat difficult? Aldridge has had his way against the Thunder thus far this season, knocking down midrange shots constantly.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Try Again.