Oklahoma City Thunder vs Portland Trail Blazers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers

Where: Moda Center in Portland, OR

When: Thursday, March 7th at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TNT | Rip City Radio 620, WWLS 98.1FM OKC

Oklahoma City Thunder (Away)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 189-120 | OKC}

The Oklahoma City Thunder are walking into a crucial matchup against a Northwest Division foe in the Portland Trail Blazers. With a record of 39-24, the Oklahoma City Thunder are tied for third place with the Trail Blazers.

The Thunder have had a tough run of recent games, going 5-5 in their last ten games. A tough four-game losing streak from February 27th to March 3rd dropped their record to the point that the Portland Trail Blazers are right on their tail and ready to steal third place from them.

The Thunder need to be wary of the Blazers when they visit them on the road. Not only are the Blazers fighting for something they dearly desire, but they’ve posted some fantastic results against the best of the NBA with wins over the Sixers and Warriors. The Thunder defense should be sharp if they want to defeat the diverse attack of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland Trail Blazers (Home)

Head Coach: Terry Stotts {All-Time 426-412 | ATL, MIL, POR}

This is the Trail Blazers’ chance to make an impression on the NBA. After a disappointing 2018 campaign, this match against the Thunder can propel the Blazers back into the top 3 of the NBA. With a record of 39-24, they are looking to break the tie with the Thunder and take the lead.

Recent matches suggest that the Portland Trail Blazers have been building up to this vital moment. After their last loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Portland Trail Blazers lost only a single game to the Toronto Raptors – the strongest team in the Eastern Conference.

This match against the Oklahoma City Thunder will be the first of a short two-game homestand for the Portland Trail Blazers. With an average opponent rating of .480 until the end of the regular season, the Blazers have a good chance to take third and stay there. They will have to be wary of the Thunder’s explosive offense, but if they can weather the storm they may be the new threat in the Northwest Division.

What’s At Stake?

The Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder maintain a fierce rivalry in the Northwest Division. In 43 games in the all-time series, the Portland Trail Blazers lead the Oklahoma City Thunder 22-21.

A win for the Oklahoma City Thunder would help them put a whole game between them and the Portland Trail Blazers for third in the West.

A win for the Portland Trail Blazers would rank them third in the West, kicking the Thunder out of the spot and giving them a whole game lead.

Questions to answer

How did the Thunder end their losing streak?

Are the stakes higher than ever for the Blazers?

We are going to compare the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Thunder Stumbled Into A Win

In a home match against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a 99-95 win. They were able to stop their four-game losing streak but it wasn’t the most beautiful display of basketball when getting it done.

With less than five minutes left to play, the Oklahoma City Thunder were down 10 points and made no suggestion that they would be able to claw their way back into the game. Out of nowhere, the Thunder defense woke up for the first time all evening and they won the match on an 18-4 run.

Live by the sword and die by the sword. An apt metaphor for such dangerous play and Russell Westbrook is very much that sword for the Oklahoma City Thunder. While Paul George is a steady superstar, Westbrook is the sole player on the Thunder that is truly unstoppable when on his game. His check Avery Bradley did all he could, but Westbrook’s 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in the final five minutes speaks for itself.

No More Games For The Blazers

It is no secret that the Portland Trail Blazers are in a precarious position at this point of the year. They are one of the strongest teams in the league, but they were also a top team last season and they were swept in the first round.

It is clear that the Blazers have made improvements on this season. Nurkic, Harkless, and Lauyman are all having great seasons while the additions of Hood and Kanter provide the Blazers added depth. The team is happy with how they are playing now, but the true test comes in May.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum lead a team, not unlike the former Lowry-DeRozan Toronto Raptors. Two-star players that failed to lead their team over the hump and into continued success. We all know how the Raptors turned out, shooting for the fences in a high-risk high-reward move. If the Blazers can’t perform again this season, a serious decision will have to be made about the future of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

G-F Paul George – 4 Mar 2019 – Out (Shoulder) – George has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Mar 5) game.

G-F Andre Roberson – 14 Feb 2019 – Out (Knee) – Roberson has yet to do any on-court work, however, head coach Billy Donovan hasn’t given up hope that he could make a return this season.

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Notes

The Portland Trail Blazers have no roster changes of note.

Head-to-Head: Russell Westbrook (OKC) vs Damian Lillard (POR)

Look no further than the two stars of their respective teams. The ever-intense Russell Westbrook faces off against Damian Lillard in a matchup that is sure to thrill the fans. Both fighting for position in the Western Conference, their leadership is what will help their respective team win the day.

Russell Westbrook

Point Guard | 6-3, 200lb (190cm, 90kg) | UCLA | Exp. 10 Years

22.4 PPG | 10.8 APG | 11.2 RPG | 2.1 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 4.7 TOV | .421 FG% | .266 3P%

With Paul George possibly missing the game, Russell Westbrook has more of a burden on his shoulders. Luckily for Westbrook, he is no stranger to carrying his team. Sometimes selfish to a fault, Russell Westbrook is likely the most explosive point guard to play the game. End-to-end Westbrook is one of the most dangerous players in the NBA with the ability to drive, shoot, or dish the ball. While his shooting hasn’t been up to standard this season, any rhythm on his shot could spell lights-out for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Damian Lillard

Point Guard | 6-3, 195lb (190cm, 88kg) | Weber State | Exp. 6 Years

25.9 PPG | 6.3 APG | 4.6 RPG | 1.1 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.7 TOV | .447 FG% | .369 3P%

Damian Lillard has been leading his team brilliantly in their pursuit for the third spot in the Western Conference. In his last three games, he is averaging 26.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists to a 2-1 record. If not for Kawhi Leonard heroics, Damian Lillard would’ve been the story of the weekend with his performances. He has more options than ever before on this Blazers team, but Lillard will certainly have to maintain a bit of a selfish streak if he hopes to take down Westbrook and the Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers Predictions and Odds

The oddsmakers have the Portland Trail Blazers favored over the Oklahoma City Thunder by 3.5, with an over/under of 110.