Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Portland Trail Blazers
Time: 8:30PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC
Counterpart: Blazers Edge
The Thunder welcome the Trail Blazers back to the ‘Peake in what should be another hotly contested game, and once again the pressure is on the Thunder to perform up to the standard the Blazers have set in the series. Following two rocky offensive performances in Portland, the Thunder found their shooting touch in game 3, and none too late, as the Blazers’ sharpshooters Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum nearly led a backbreaking comeback that eventually ran out of steam mid-way through the 4th.
Game 4 should be no easier for the Thunder.
What bodes well for OKC is that their younger players, Jerami Grant and Terrance Ferguson, finally found their shooting touch in game 3, which helped buoy a struggling offense early in the game. Their offense provided just enough power for the Thunder to make it to the 4th clinging to the slimmest of margins, and Russell Westbrook carried the team home with timely offense.
Speaking of Westbrook and Lillard, they may be cool during such neutral events as All-Star Weekend, but they’re probably not sharing a snow cone this weekend in OKC. Their individual battle in this series is becoming a stress-inducing affair, and I’m not even playing in these games. I think it’s because both of these guards understand — and feel — what is at stake in this series for their respective legacies. For Lillard, he’s the leader trying to overcome the aftermath of getting swept in last year’s playoffs, while critics question whether the Blazers will ever be anything more than good-but-not-great.
Meanwhile, Westbrook is a former MVP who has lost two straight playoff series in the 1st round, and is now facing a 3rd if he cannot get his team to play at a higher level. Not to mention, Father time is taking a casual stroll toward Russ’ summer cottage.
Grab some Pepto, because we’re in for another one tonight.
Who do you think will win tonight?
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