Preview 9 of 82: Thunder @ Trail Blazers
Time: 8:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (4-4) is in Portland tonight for a Northwest Division showdown with the Trail Blazers (5-4). It’s the first meeting between the two teams this season, and tips at 8 PM CT on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
The Thunder is coming off Friday night’s collapse against the Boston Celtics — a game in which OKC showed flashes of its potential brilliance, but also a great deal of how much work there is yet to do. Putting together a complete effort tonight in Portland will be the key for Oklahoma City, with the first 24 minutes of the Boston game serving as the blueprint for how that would ideally look.
The Trail Blazers come in with a 5-4 record, and haven’t played since last Thursday night’s barn burner against the Lakers. Damian Lillard made a game-winning three-pointer with 0.7 seconds remaining, and is averaging 26.1 points per game thus far in the early season. Portland will look to ride a healthy dose of he and his backcourt mate, CJ McCollum (22.1 PPG), against a Thunder defense that has the tools to slow them down.
- Al-Farouq Aminu: Out — Ankle
- Meyers Leonard: Out — Ankle
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- Oklahoma City is looking for its first win against a Northwest Division opponent. With two losses to Minnesota and one to Utah, the current Thunder record in the division is 0-3.
- Portland is the third best three-point shooting team in the NBA at nearly 40 percent. The Thunder’s perimeter defense will be tested all night, with Andre Roberson likely logging heavy minutes.
- Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 15 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. The match-up between he and Steven Adams should be fun to watch, as they’re both physical and off to great starts on the season. Nurkic averaged 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in the two Blazers/Thunder games he participated in last season.
- Portland took the season series 3-1 in 2016-17, with Lillard averaging 25.3 points per game in those contests. McCollum averaged 18.3 points against OKC last season.
- Paul George dropped 37 points in his lone game against the Blazers last season. Carmelo Anthony enters having scored 30+ in four of his last six visits to Portland.