Game Day #45: Blazers at Thunder

Portland Trail Blazers (21-23, 7-16 road) at OKC Thunder (33-11, 18-4 home)


Where: The ‘Peake
: 8:30 p.m. CST
: ESPN (206 Directv, 28 Cox, 602 AT&T U-Verse, 140 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 Raymond Felton
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 survived a thriller in OT over the Blazers 111-107, including a controversial goal-tending call.

Well, these division foes meet again. They’re 2-2 versus each other in their last four match-ups. The Thunder are 1-1 versus Portland here at the ‘Peake against the Blazers in their last four. That said, you cannot take this Portland team lightly. They just traded away Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby, two players that have been a real thorn in the side of the Thunder. That said, they went INTO Chicago and beat the Bulls on Friday. So, there not quite done yet.

Without Wallace and Camby in the line-up Nicolas Batum and Joe Pryzbilla step into the starting roles. Both are doing a sustainable job.  This team is hard to predict, a lot of people were saying they were throwing in the towel by trading two starters away. You would have had the same thoughts after watching the New York Knicks drop them by 40 points earlier in the week. However, this team regrouped and beat a very good Chicago team.

Oklahoma City is trying to regroup after losing to San Antonio. Oklahoma City has lost 3 of their last 4 at home, a place where they had been quite dominate. It’s hard to tell what’s going on with the Thunder, but even Kevin Durant had an off night against the Spurs. They’ll have to have a short memory as the Blazers are in town. In fact, the first home loss of the season was to these Portland Trail Blazers.

Keys to the game

Kevin Durant
Durant had up and down games against Portland this season. He had 19 in the home loss, but had 33 in the road win. I think for Oklahoma City to have a chance to win this game, it’ll have to come off the shot of Kevin Durant. There have been plenty of times where Durant didn’t have to lead in scoring for OKC to win the ball game, however, I think this is one where the Thunder will need their two time scoring champion.

Shoot it deep!
Oklahoma City is a combined 11-42 from three-point range against Portland this season. In one game, they blew a second half lead, and in the other, the three-ball really almost kept them out of the game. Must shoot at least 33% I suggest.

Offensive rebounds kill us all season. This should just become a permanent fixture in the keys to the game until it doesn’t become a problem anymore. which, I doubt that’s going to happen. We’re 2/3 into the season. This will continue to be an issue.

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