The Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder square off tonight for the second time this season. The first meeting took place on Jan. 25, where the Thunder won a close one 125-122 in Portland.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
This time around, the Thunder will be without their starting backcourt from that game in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Theo Maledon as both have been ruled out.
The Blazers enter tonight’s contest with a four-game winning streak and winners of six of their last seven games.
Damian Lillard has led the charge as he is averaging 30.2 PPG and 7.7 APG in that time period.
Gary Trent Jr. has also picked up some of the offensive slack and has done a respectable job at making up for CJ McCollum’s absence by averaging 17.7 PPG since McCollum injured his foot a month ago.
Carmelo Anthony has also had a nice seven-game stretch during the Blazers’ streak as he is averaging 18.6 PPG on 47.5 FG%.
In terms of availability, I expect the Thunder to have the same group of nine guys they had last game. The Thunder roster situation has been fluid the past week as they have been hit hard with injuries and COVID protocols that have caused guys to be in and out of games.
My biggest matchup to watch will be Enes Kanter against Al Horford and Mike Muscala. The last time these teams met, Kanter dominated the boards and grabbed 23 rebounds that included getting eight offensive boards.
This resulted in the Blazers taking 14 more shots than the Thunder.
This is something that OKC cannot afford to do once again, giving up that many second-chance opportunities will hurt the team as they already sit at a disadvantage by not having a true point guard playing and only having nine guys available to suit up.
Another interesting note about tonight’s game is whether or not it actually gets played. Another round of snow is expected to hit Oklahoma this evening and night and the state has experienced rolling blackouts to conserve power.
Different sport, different state, but same issue: power outages in Dallas, Texas.
The Dallas Stars got a lot of flack for initially planning to play their game Monday despite power outages.
The team finally decided to call their game off against the Nashville Predators after the Dallas mayor requested them not to play.