Tip-Off: 8 PM CT
Location: Moda Center (Portland, OR)
Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Just two nights ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder played their most explosive half of basketball so far this season in the first 24 minutes of the game against the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately, the next two quarters was arguably the worst basketball that they have played all season, and it all happened in front of the home crowd. Despite being up by 18 points at halftime against the league’s hottest team, the Thunder squandered the lead and dropped a gut-wrenching 94-101 loss at home to the Celtics.
Two days laters, the Thunder is back on the road for a three-game road trip that features nothing but late tip-offs. Oklahoma City takes on the Trail Blazers in Portland tonight, and while every game matters, this one could hold some underlying importance for the Thunder as well. Oklahoma City is 0-3 so far in games against their division, putting them at the bottom, while Portland is 0-1. While division record rarely matters as much as overall record, it functions as a tie breaker in certain playoff seeding settings. On top of that, the Thunder really does not want to fall back under .500 for the season, so while no game is a must-win this early in the season, this game feels like it carries some above-average weight.
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: Andre Roberson
- SF: Paul George
- PF: Carmelo Anthony
- C: Steven Adams
- PG: Damian Lillard
- SG: C.J. McCollum
- SF: Maurice Harkless
- PF: Noah Vonleh
- C: Jusuf Nurkic
- Al-Farouq Aminu (right ankle) is out.
- Meyers Leonard (right ankle) is out.
- In nine seasons in Oklahoma City, the Thunder is 18-18 against the Blazers (11-7 at home, 7-11 away).
- Oklahoma City won only one of the four matchups with Portland a season ago.
- In nine seasons in Oklahoma City, the Thunder has won the season series against the Blazers three times, lost four times, and tied twice.
- Russell Westbrook scored a career-high 58 points at home against the Blazers last season on March 7, 2017.
- Oklahoma City is 2-2 on the road. Portland is 3-2 at home.
- The Thunder has won two road games in a row.
- The Blazers have played five of their last six games at home. Tonight is the second game of a six-game home stand.
- Russell Westbrook has four triple-doubles so far this season. The Thunder are 4-0 when he gets one and 0-4 when he does not.
- The Thunder is second in the NBA in fast break points, scoring 16.0 points in transition per game, but the Blazers have the third best transition defense in the league, allowing only 7.7 fast break points per game.
- Oklahoma City and Portland both rank in the top five in defensive rating. The Thunder is second (97.2), and the Blazers are fifth (100.3).
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.