Portland leads the series 1-0

Sunday, April 16 :: 9:30 p.m. CST :: Moda Center (19,980)
TV Coverage: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 2-point underdog. The over/under is 222.
Online StreamWatch ESPN | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Blazers: here

SETTING THE SEASON

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped Game 1 to the Portland Trail Blazers 104-99 on Sunday afternoon. Portland nabs the 1-0 series lead.
  • Russell Westbrook had his ninth playoff triple-double but wasn’t enough in the loss.
  • Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 19 in the first half before pulling within 93-92 late in the fourth quarter.
  • Teams that win the first game of a best-of-seven series at home go on to win the series 76.6% of the time (98-30).
  • NBA teams who trails 1-0 on the road are 120-267. So, historically, this is an uphill battle for the Thunder.
  • Despite being just 4-4 after losing Game 1, the Thunder are 3-5 in those series. They’ve come back from being down 2-0 once, in 2012 against San Antonio. They have never been swept in the playoff (since relocation).

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.
  • Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson & Lisa Salters will have the call on ABC.

SCOUTING THE ENEMY

  • The Portland Trail Blazers went 53-29 on the season, finishing third in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Trail Blazers went 8-2.
  • In their last game, Portland overcame a 28-point deficit, beating the Sacramento Kings 136-131 on April 11.
  • Oklahoma City swept Portland in the regular season 4-0.
  • All-time the Thunder are 120-116 against the Blazers.
  • Since relocating to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 22-22 against Portland.
  • The Thunder are 2-8 in their last 10 games at the Rose Garden.
  • Portland and the Thunder are tied 2-2 in playoff series wins. Haven’t met since 1991.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Jusuf Nurkic (leg) is out.
  • 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.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Hamidou Diallo (elbow) is out.

UNIFORM WATCH



Keys to the Game

Playoff P

Paul George needs to play like the Paul George from the regular season against Portland. He averaged 38 pts per game against Portland during the regular season. OKC doesn’t need that kind of production, but they do need playoff P, or at least regular season MVPG. While George is nursing a shoulder injury that has nagged him for a few weeks, he may need to drive to the rim more and draw contact instead of settling for three point shots; at least until he finds his rhythm. Players like George, who admittedly went three days without shooting a basketball after the Rockets’ game, can often find their shooting stroke at the free throw line. It might seem counterintuitive for an injured player to seek fouls, but at this point in the playoffs it is win or go home.

Hustle Bestbrook

Russell Westbrook was the best player for the Thunder and he will need to continue that patience while balanced with the Westbrook aggression we all know and love (and sometimes hate). While he did fall asleep on a late, deep 4th quarter three pointer by Damian Lillard, he was looking for Lillard to run a pick’n’roll with Enes Kanter.

Rim protection

Speaking of Kanter; all OKC fans love Kanter while he was with OKC but now he is destroying the Thunder on the boards with relentless rebounding, especially on the offensive glass against smaller Thunder players after Steven Adams was forced to help against Lillard and C.J. McCollum in the pick’n’roll and dribble drive. Overall, the Thunder rim protection and rebounding effort was dreadful.

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Chuck Chaney

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