Oklahoma City Thunder (22-18, 14-6 home) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (21-18, 11-8 away)

Tuesday, Jan. 9 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27) | 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
Coverage: NBATV  (DirecTV 216, Cox 37/756, AT&T U-Verse 754/632, Dish 416/156 (9508 HD)
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 8-point favorite. The over/under is 204½.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Blazers: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • A disappointing loss to Phoenix sends the Oklahoma City Thunder home looking to right the ship against the Damian Lillard-less Portland Trail Blazers for a short interruption of a road trip.
  • Oklahoma City is 3-6 in their last nine games against Portland. However, the Thunder are 4-1 when they’ve played Portland at home in their last five games.
  • The Thunder only sit a half-game ahead of Portland for fifth place in the Western Conference playoff race, winner will control fourth place.
  • The Trail Blazers, without Lillard, has won back-to-back games. That includes a win over the always tough San Antonio Spurs.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
  • If you’re not in the Oklahoma City market, tonight’s game is on NBA TV.

SCOUTING THE BLAZERS

  • The Portland Trail Blazers are 21-18 on the season, sixth in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Blazers are 5-5.
  • That said, Portland has won back-to-back games, including beating the San Antonio Spurs.
  • The Trail Blazers have spent a lot of time beating up on the bad teams, they’re only 9-15 against teams with winning records.
  • In their last meeting, Portland beat the Thunder 103-99 in Portland on Nov. 5.
  • Overall, the Thunder lead the head-to-head series with Portland 116-113.
  • Since moving from Seattle, Oklahoma City is 18-19 against Porltand, one of the few Western Conference teams with a winning record over the Thunder.
  • When games are played at the Peake, Oklahoma City is 11-7.
  • Injury Report:
    Damian Lillard (right calf strain) is OUT.
    C.J. Wilcox (knee) is a game-time decision.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Portland came on March 24, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 103-83 (20-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (35 points) vs. Portland occurred during a 107-72 loss on April 3, 2009.

WHAT’S IN THE SUNS NAME?

  • General manager Jerry Colangelo, only 28 at the time, settled on a name for his expansion franchise using a name-the-team contest in 1968.
  • Colangelo chose Suns over Scorpions, Rattlers, and Thunderbirds, among the other suggestions included in the 28,000 entries.
  • One lucky fan won $1,000 and season tickets as part of the contest, which included such obscure entries as White Wing Doves, Sun Lovers, Poobahs, Dudes, and Cactus Giants.

PDX -> OKC CONNECT

  • Assistant coach Maurice Cheeks was 162-139 in four seasons as Portland’s head coach from 2001-2005.
  • Kyle Singler was born in Medford, Oregon and attended South Medford High School.

INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson is OUT (left patellar tendonitis).

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City hits the road for a couple of games. They’ll finish a back-to-back tomorrow at Minnesota. Then, at Charlotte on Saturday to finish up the road trip.



Three Keys to the Game

Third quarter

Win the third quarter. When the Thunder win the third quarter, they’re 12-1. When they lose, they’re 10-17 on the year. So, win the third quarter and you win the game. It’s pretty simple as that. Especially as the quarter has been the thorn in the side of Oklahoma City all season long.

Defense

Holding a team to under 100 points is hard in today’s NBA. That’s why it’s really no surprise the Trail Blazers are only 5-10 in games where they score less than 100 points. Portland is 1-3 in their last four where they scored less than 100 points. On the other side of that, Oklahoma City is 14-5 when holding an opponent under 100 points. They’re 6-1 when holding opponents under 100 in their last seven games.

Rebound

The Oklahoma City Thunder have rebounded well lately but they’ll have to do it again tonight. Oklahoma City is 16-6 when they can grab more boards than their opponent.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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