Time: 2:30PM CST
Location: Moda Center, Portland
Counterpart: Blazers Edge
The Thunder head into the playoffs against the Trail Blazers as a 6th seed, but one that experienced a lot of coulda-shoulda moments down the stretch. Only a late season swoon knocked OKC out of the upper ranks of the West, and meanwhile the Blazers, despite losing big man Jusuf Nurkic, continued to win, and grabbed the spot the Thunder had held onto for so long.
Game one is typically a feeling out kind of experience, as each team will look to establish successful patterns while measuring how the other team is going to attack. For the Thunder, the absence of Nurkic looms large, especially as Thunder fan-favorite Enes Kanter has to fill the void. What does Billy Donovan have in store for the man once deemed too much a defensive deficiency to play?
Meanwhile, the backcourt will be the front and center of the action, as All-Star guards Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook — two very similar leaders but with very different skillsets — will look to establish early series control.
Thunder fans have been wary coming down the stretch, but now the team finds itself in a matchup with advantages. How will they manifest in the first 48 minutes of action?
Who do you think will win game 1?
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