Time: 6:00 PM CT
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC/97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (44-30) is back in action tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena, hosting the Portland Trail Blazers (44-28) in an important match-up in the Western Conference playoff race. Portland is 3-0 against the Thunder this season.
Oklahoma City currently sits in fourth place in the West, holding a half-game lead on the fifth-placed San Antonio Spurs. After losing two straight, the Blazers are just a game up on OKC for the three-seed, making tonight’s showdown all the more critical. Although Portland will hold the tie-breaker no matter what, avoiding getting swept in the season-series is imperative for the Thunder.
Tip-off is at 6:00 PM CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is a 3.5-point favorite at home according to Odds Shark.
- Andre Roberson: Out – Knee
- Jusuf Nurkic: Probable — Back
- Shabazz Naper: Questionable — Toe
- Ed Davis: Probable — Foot
Blazers: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jusuf Nurkic
|Team||EFG||FTA||TOV%||OREB||OPP EFG||OPP FTA||OPP TO%||OPP OREB%|
Thunder O & D
Blazers O & D
Portland leads season series 3-0
Nov. 5: POR 103, OKC 99 [BOX SCORE]
Jan. 9: POR 117, OKC 106 [BOX SCORE]
March 3: POR 108, OKC 100 [BOX SCORE]
The Big Men. The Steven Adams/Jusuf Nurkic battle will be one to watch. Nurkic has averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds in Portland’s three wins against OKC this season. Adams comes in averaging 20.3 PPG over the last four games — if he can stay hot and limit Nurkic, that would be a great sign for the Thunder.
Stopping the Backcourt. Portland begins and ends with its dangerous backcourt of Damian Lillard (26.6 PPG) and CJ McCollum (21.6 PPG). Two of the Blazers’ three wins over OKC this season have come without Andre Roberson — including a 27-point effort from McCollum on March 3. He will likely find life a tad more difficult now that Corey Brewer is in the starting lineup, but slowing down the duo will be no easy task.
Paging PG13. Paul George struggled mightily against the Heat on Friday night, shooting 3-of-16 for 12 total points. He’s averaging 18 PPG in March and hitting just 39 percent of his shots — 30 percent from downtown. The Thunder will certainly need his customary level of defense tonight but getting him going offensively would be a nice revelation.
The Point Guard Battle. With Russell Westbrook going head-to-head with Damian Lillard, the winner of the game will likely be the team with the better performing point guard. Lillard is deadly from everywhere and will require a greater level of defensive effort than what Westbrook has shown lately. Westbrook can make life equally as difficult for Lillard by being the runaway freight train that he often is. If one man can thoroughly outplay the other, his team will be in great shape.