Oklahoma City Thunder vs Portland Trail Blazers

The Oklahoma City Thunder slipped down the table and will now face off against the depleted Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, April 14th at 3:30 PM EST at the Moda Center in Portland, OR. The broadcast is available on ABC.

How to Watch

What: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Portland Trail Blazers

Where: Sunday, April 14th at 3:30 PM EST

When: Moda Center in Portland, OR

How (TV): ABC

Oklahoma City Thunder (Away)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 199-129 | OKC}

Season Record: 49-33, 6th in the West

Projected Starting Five: (G) Russell Westbrook - (G) Terrence Ferguson - (F) Paul George - (F) Jerami Grant - (C) Steven Adams

The Thunder entered the season with some uncertainty, but their performances defined them as one of the leagues best. Late season shooting woes hurt their standing but allowed them to finish with an improved record over last season.

The Thunder were strong in their last ten games though, finishing 7-3. While they didn't face the stiffest competition, the Thunder were smartly able to take care of business.

The Thunder take on a fierce rival in the Portland Trail Blazers. While they are depleted in the middle, the Thunder have to contain Lillard if they hope to win the series.

Portland Trail Blazers (Home)

Head Coach: Terry Stotts {All-Time 440-417 | ATL, MIL, POR}

Season Record: 53-29, 3rd in the West

Projected Starting Five: (G) Damian Lillard - (G) CJ McCollum - (F) Maurice Harkless - (F) Al-Farouq Aminu - (C) Enes Kanter

The Portland Trail Blazers finished the season on a high. Their own performance mixed with a lack of success from other teams bolstered them to a top three position in the West.

The Trail Blazers closed out the season well though. In their last ten games, the Trail Blazers went 8-2 which propelled them above most of the competition despite key injuries.

The Blazers were swept by the Thunder this season, but every game was a competitive match. With their health in doubt, the odds are stacked against the Blazers. They will need a superhuman performance from Lillard.

What's At Stake?

The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers own one of the most intense rivalries in the NBA. With a sweep of the Blazers this season, the Thunder drew the all-time series level at 22-22.

This will be the first time the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers meet in the NBA Playoffs.

Both teams look to get off to a good start in game one.

Portland Looks to Avenge Last Year

Once again in the third seed in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers look to avenge the sweep they suffered in the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

The Blazers were focused going into this season, and it showed in their final standings. Unfortunately, late-season injuries derailed their plans to challenge for first.

They certainly don't want to get swept. In fact, they want to get out of the first round. But with Nurkic out and McCollum's injuries, the result for the Blazers is as unpredictable as ever.

Westbrook & George Are Unmatched

Paul George, had the Thunder not finished in the bottom half of the West, would be a candidate for MVP this year. Russell Westbrook is coming off of his third straight season averaging a triple-double.

The Blazers lack a specific defensive specialist but maintain a confident team defense. Both stars are stalwart on defense and creative on offense.

The truth of the matter is that the two Thunder stars are more likely to beat themselves before an opposing player can. It may work to the Blazers advantage, by indulging Westbrook and George into difficult shots they may very well limit the Thunder role players.

Every Minute Is Dame Time

Damian Lillard enters this series as the unquestionable leader of the Portland Trail Blazers. His consistency as the lead guard over the years for the Blazers is commendable:

In a bid to encourage his teammates' production this year, Lillard made a greater effort passing the ball. His assists aren't up a large amount, but the movement of the Blazers offense is much better.

Unfortunately, it looks like Lillard will have to take on the scoring burden, even more, this year. Nurkic's ability to get him open via screens is gone, so Lillard will have to be effective in isolation.

The Thunder Need Their Reserves to Shine

The role players for the Thunder need to have an impact on the game for the Thunder to be successful. While their stars can carry the brunt of production, the bench needs to ensure there is no drop-off when they leave the court.

Schroder, Morris, and Noel are key pieces off the bench for the Thunder and they play very important roles. Defensively and offensively, all three are key in opening up the floor for the Thunder's stars as well as limiting the opposition on defense.

Schroder and Noel are having good seasons while Morris is fitting in despite joining the team late in the year. They don't need to score 20+ a game but limiting the Blazers while easing offensive production will be key to their value.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

F Paul George - 10 Apr 2019 - Day To Day (Shoulder) - George did not play in Wednesday's (Apr 10) game.

G-F Andre Roberson - 21 Mar 2019 - Out (Knee) - Roberson is still without a timetable for his return, though he has progressed to some on-court drills.

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Notes

C Jusuf Nurkic - 25 Mar 2019 - Out For Season (Leg Fracture) - Nurkic left Monday's (Mar25) game with a fractured leg.

X-Factors: Steven Adams (OKC) vs Enes Kanter (POR)

The 'stache brothers return to the court together but it will be as enemies when the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder face off. Kanter is a load on offense, but a liability on defense. It is almost the opposite for Adams whose defensive acumen precedes his offense.

Steven Adams

Center | 7-0, 265lb (213cm, 120kg) | Pittsburgh/New Zealand | Exp. 5 Years

13.9 PPG | 1.6 APG | 9.5 RPG | 1.5 SPG | 1.0 BPG | 1.7 TOV | .595 FG% | - 3P%

Much has been made of Steven Adams' supposed regression in the time that the Thunder stumbled down the Western Conference table.

Criticism of his foot-speed in this modern game plagued opinions, while many failed to focus on the benefit of his being on the court.

Adams is a tremendous rebounder and an even better screener. Without his picks, none of the Thunder gets open for their shots while he can contend with anyone's strength in the paint.

Enes Kanter

Center | 6-11, 250lb (211cm, 113kg) | Kentucky/Turkey | Exp. 7 Years

13.7 PPG | 1.7 APG | 9.8 RPG | 0.5 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .549 FG% | .294 3P%

Tragedy surrounds the reasoning why Enes Kanter will be in the starting lineup for the Portland Trail Blazers, but his productivity is certainly not a byproduct of that.

Kanter is a talented post-player, but his defense leaves much to be desired. The Blazers may very well choose to run through him though, as there is a significant lack of secondary scoring for the Blazers.

Due to Nurkic being out and McCollum's stays up in the air, Kanter is the second most talented offensive option on the Blazers. He may provide a more diverse screen and roll game with Lillard, but they will need to be efficient in order to make up for his defensive inability.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers Predictions and Odds

If you reside in New Jersey you can now bet on the OKC Thunder vs Portland Trail Blazers match at one of these sportsbooks:

Sportsbook Oklahoma City Thunder Portland Trail Blazers Link
888Sport NJ +128 -152
BetStars NJ +135 -162

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

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