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Thunder Game Day No. 65: at Portland Trail Blazers

Oklahoma City Thunder (37-27, 16-17 away)

at

Portland Trail Blazers (36-26, 19-11 home)

Saturday, March 3 :: 9:00 p.m. CST :: TModa Center (19,980)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4½-point underdogs. The over/under is 215½.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Blazers: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • In a mammoth game in Portland, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers will throw down for the rights to be move up, momentarily, to the third seed in the Western Conference Playoff Race.
  • Oklahoma City has won 5-of-6 and are looking to continue this win streak, despite the quality of the wins.
  • Oklahoma City has lost seven straight in the Rose City. They’re 1-8 since 2013. Oklahoma City is in a big need of a win tonight.
  • Oklahoma City has lost 7-of-8 in Portland.

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).

SCOUTING THE BLAZERS

  • The Portland Trail Blazers are 36-26 on the season, third in the Western Conference.
  • Over their last 10 games, the Blazers are 7-3 and are on a 5-game winning streak.
  • In their last meeting, Portland beat the Thunder 117-106 in Oklahoma City on Jan. 9.
  • Overall, the Thunder lead the head-to-head series with Portland 116-114.
  • Since moving from Seattle, Oklahoma City is 18-20 against Porltand, one of the few Western Conference teams with a winning record over the Thunder.
  • When games are played at the Moda Center, the Thunder are only 7-12 with a current 7-game losing streak.
  • They’re 1-8 since 2013. Oklahoma City is in a big need of a win tonight.
  • Injury Report:
    Mo Harkless (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.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.
  • Carmelo Anthony (rest) is out for tonight.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City now will host the Houston Rockets on Tuesday March 6.
  • Then, the Thunder will host the Suns and Spurs to round out the week.

WHAT’S IN A BLAZERS NAME

  • In 1970, Portland was granted an expansion franchise in the NBA and team officials announced a name-the-team contest.
  • Of the more than 10,000 entries, Pioneers was the most popular, but was ruled out because nearby Lewis & Clark College was already using the nickname.
  • Another popular entry was Trail Blazers, whose logo is supposed to represent five players on one team playing against five players from another team.



Three Keys to the Game

Three-pointers

Portland wants to light it up and the Thunder will have to defend strong. While the Blazers haven’t shot it relatively well in their win streak, the Thunder have to continue that trend and not let this Blazers team shoot 40-plus percent from deep. That would be just detrimental.

Rebounding

Rebounding is so imperative to the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 27-10 this season when they out rebound their opponents. Oklahoma City though, a poor 10-17 when they don’t. It’s like the three-point shooting. Oklahoma City was out rebounded by the Blazers the last time they played, and that contributed to the loss. They have to do a better job tonight.

Turnovers

Oklahoma City needs to figure out their turnover situation. They’re averaging 16.0 turnovers per game since the All-Star Break (23rd). Oklahoma City cuts down the turnovers and the Blazers cannot get out on the break, they’ll win.

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