Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Portland Trail Blazers
Time: 8:30PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC
Counterpart: Blazers Edge
The Thunder are likely eager to be back in the confines of the ‘Peake tonight as they head into game 3 of their first round series vs the Trail Blazers. Games one and two seldom went according to plan, as OKC’s offensive deficiencies we’ve observed post-All Star weekend have manifested in spades. They’re struggling to score from everywhere on the court, but role players such as Terrance Ferguson and Jerami Grant, still unaccustomed to what it means to play well in the playoffs, are historically prone to struggle. Steven Adams is the rock, but he can only do so much, given the team’s system.
But not Russell Westbrook and Paul George. This pair have been the central figures in multiple playoff battles over the years, and they know what is at stake when you have to play well. In the most recent positive Thunder playoff run in 2016, the Thunder found themselves down to the Spurs and without home court advantage. But in part powered by Westbrook, OKC turned the series around and earned a trip to Western Conference Finals. Westbrook knows how to turn things around.
But that said, there are myriad elements that need to turn around, especially as the Blazers are riding high off of their dominant game 2 win. Damian Lillard has confidence and swagger oozing out his pores at this point, using the deep-3 without remorse to crush Thunder dreams.
If you want a much more thorough analysis of what OKC needs to do tonight, I would direct you to Ben’s fantastic breakdown. Me, I’m just here for the free apps and drinks.
It isn’t hyperbole to essentially say tonight’s game can seal OKC’s fate for the third season in a row, a monumental three-year run of underperformance and disappointment. We keep asking ourselves, which version of the Thunder will we see — the one from January/February, or the one from March/April. Games 1&2? The latter.
Will the former appear in time?
Who do you think will win tonight?
This poll is closed