Game Day #50: Thunder at Blazers

Oklahoma City Thunder (37-12, 15-8 road) at Portland Trail Blazers (23-26, 16-8 home)


Where: The Rose Garden – Portland, OR
: 9:00 p.m. CST
:  FS Oklahoma (679 Directv, 37 Cox, 754 AT&T U-Verse, 416 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Spurs
PG Russell Westbrook Nolan Smith
SG Thabo Sefolosha Wesley Matthews
SF Kevin Durant Nicolas Batum
PF Serge Ibaka Lamarcus Aldridge
C Kendrick Perkins Joe Pryzbilla
6th Man James Harden Jamal Crawford

Last time:  Oklahoma City thumped the newly remodeled Blazers at the ‘Peake in fine fashion, 111-95.

Oklahoma City is coming off a very big win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Now they must refocus against a team that looks to head into a rebuilding mode. However, players like Nicholas Batum haven’t forgetten about what happened last time these two met here in Portland.  Matt Calkins of the Columbian talked about how it was a turning point of the season for the Blazers.

“I don’t know if I think about that every day, but I think about it very often,” continued Batum, adding that he thought that was the most significant game of the season. “When all the trades happened, I thought ‘if I had made that shot, this would be totally different.’ ”

“That definitely was a landmark point of the season. That was a big moment. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t,” Blazers guard Jamal Crawford said of the goaltending game. “That was kind of the moment where things started getting a little funny.”

That said, this isn’t the same match up. Portland isn’t as intimidating as they were early in the season. It seems that the front office is ready to try and rebuild this thing all over again.

That said, Portland since the trade, has pulled off a couple of nice wins over Chicago IN Chicago and Beat Memphis last week. So, they aren’t a push over.

Keys to the game

Limit Turnovers
Oklahoma City has struggled in the past against turning it over versus this team. Even without Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby, the Blazers manage to force four more turnovers and help force it into 10 extra shots for the them.

Russell Westbrook
No one can stop this kid. Only one who could remotely defend him was Felton, and he’s out tonight for personal reasons. If Westbrook gets hot and on a roll, this Blazers team could be in for a very long evening.  However, if he struggles and allows this crowd to get into his head, might be a big ball game.

Control the noise
The Rose Garden is by far one of the best venues in sports. Fans know basketball. They love basketball. That said, it can be a very intimidating place to play. Oklahoma City really needs to come out and set the tone early. You cannot let this crowd into the game. We’ve seen in past games where this crowd has really effected how Oklahoma City plays.



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