Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC Thunder | Game Preview #27: Blazers

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

Tip-Off: 7 PM CT

Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City, OK)

Television: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal

Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live-tweets and discussion during the game

The Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off the upset of their season on Sunday with a Valentine’s Day victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, and that just goes to show that it doesn’t matter who suits for OKC, they’re going to claw and scrap their way to the bitter end.

Tonight, the Thunder hosts the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that has also been bitten by the injury bug. Without CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, Damian Lillard has had to shoulder the load more so than normal, and as a result, Portland is 16-10 and sitting at 5th in the Western Conference.

The Blazers have won 4 in a row and 7 of their last 10, so if the Thunder is going to give their visitors a run for their money, they’re going to have to bring that same energy that they have carried in every single game over the last week. Despite winning just 1 of their last 4, OKC has been in a fight to the last minute in every game, including two overtime losses to the reigning NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers.

After 3 straight games of shooting <32% from three-point land, the Thunder knocked down 15-of-36 (41.7%) against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. That performance moved OKC up to 28th in the league in 3-point percentage. Hopefully they can toss the bitter cold weather to the side and have a hot shooting night, because they’re going to need it to pick up a win against Portland.

Projected Starters

Thunder

  • PG: Theo Maledon
  • SG: Luguentz Dort
  • SF: Kenrich Williams
  • PF: Darius Bazley
  • C: Al Horford

Blazers

  • PG: Damian Lillard
  • SG: Derrick Jones Jr.
  • SF: Gary Trent Jr.
  • PF: Robert Covington
  • C: Enes Kanter

Injuries

Thunder

  • Trevor Ariza is OUT (not with team).
  • Moses Brown is OUT (G League; two-way).
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is OUT (left knee sprain).
  • Josh Hall is OUT (G League; two-way).
  • George Hill is OUT (right thumb surgery).
  • Ty Jerome is OUT (G League; on assignment).
  • Theo Maledon is OUT (health and safety protocols).
  • Aleksej Pokusevski is OUT (G League; on assignment).

Blazers

  • Zach Collins is OUT (left ankle stress fracture).
  • Harry Giles III is OUT (strained left calf).
  • Rodney Hood is OUT (sprained left foot).
  • CJ McCollum is OUT (left foot midfoot fracture).
  • Jusuf Nurkic is OUT (fractured right wrist).

Head-to-Head

  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 25-24 (14-10 at home, 11-14 on the road) against the Trail Blazers in the regular season and 1-4 (1-1 at home, 0-3 on the road) in the playoffs.
  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder has won the season series against the Trail Blazers 4 times, lost it 5 times, and tied 3 times.
  • The Thunder went 2-2 (1-1 at home, 1-1 on the road) against the Blazers last season.
  • The Thunder is 1-0 (0-0 at home, 1-0 on the road) against the Blazers so far this season.

Game Notes

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