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

How to Watch

What: Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers, Game 2

Where: Moda Center in Portland, OR

When: Tuesday, April 16th at 10:30 PM EST

How (TV): TNT

Series Standing: 0-1 POR

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

Top Performers:

  • (G) Russell Westbrook – 22.9 PPG | 11.1 RPB | 10.7 APG
  • (F) Paul George – 28.0 PPG | 8.2 RPG | 2.2 SPG
  • (C) Steven Adams – 13.9 PPG | 9.5 RPG | 1.5 SPG | 1.0 BPG

After sliding in the standings near the end of the regular season, the Oklahoma City Thunder carried their troubles into Game 1 of the Western Conference first-round.

The Thunder shot only 39% from the field and an atrocious 15% from range. Their offense was funneled into their stars and Westbrook and George failed to convert efficiently.

The Thunder need more from all parties if they hope to take the second game from the Blazers. They are ambitious, but they need to take off the blinders and play as a team to beat Portland.

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

Top Performers:

  • (G) Damian Lillard – 25.8 PPG | 6.9 APG | .369 3P%
  • (G) CJ McCollum – 21.0 PPG | 4.0 RPG | .375 3P%
  • (C) Enes Kanter – 13.1 PPG | 8.6 RPG | .577 FG%

The Portland Trail Blazers played an inspiring Game 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which resulted in an impressive five-point victory.

The Blazers defense was disciplined and composed, while their offense was varied and confident. They’ll look to bring that intensity into Game 2.

The Thunder were baited into difficult looks in Game 1 and will surely be privy to their schemes in Game 2. What the Blazers can carry over they will, but they will have to adjust on the fly against a dynamic star tandem on the Thunder.

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.

The Portland Trail Blazers look to go up 2-0 in this heated rivalry before a two-game road trip in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City look to tie the series before gaining a two-game homestand in Oklahoma.

Westbrook and George Were Empty

Not to say that the two Thunder stars didn’t put up impressive numbers, but their efforts came at great cost to themselves and their teammates.

George only shot 33% from the floor and was 4-15 from three-point range. Westbrook collected another triple-double, but his 0-4 shooting from the arc leaves room for improvement.

They played right into the Blazers hands, as the two stars took a number of difficult shots over multiple defenders. They can’t fall into the same trap in Game 2.

Enes Kanter Was A Game Changer

A lot was made out of the fact that the Portland Trail Blazers would be without Jusuf Nurkic, their main post and screening option. Kanter was a proven scorer but his defensive ability is always questionable. He quelled such concerns in Game 1.

Kanter put on a star-like performance in Game 1. He posted 20 points and 18 rebounds on 8-15 shooting. Putting him in the realm of only Bill Walton and LaMarcus Aldridge in terms of playoff performances by a Trail Blazers center.

He was a valuable offensive option, taking advantage of Adams and Noel in the post while maintaining a solid defensive effort in the paint. If Kanter can continue his production, the Thunder have little else they can do to stop him in the paint.

Where Was the Thunder Bench?

Dennis Schroder led the Oklahoma City Thunder bench in scoring with 11 points on a disappointing 5-17 night from the field. Their other players were non-factors.

The Thunder play with George and Westbrook alongside a number of role players. However, the Thunder managed only 21 points bench points in support of their star pairs’ 50.

the Oklahoma City bench needs to be able to provide more in energy and opportunities for Westbrook and George. They are lacking as an outlet, which forces them into tough shots. They’ll need to improve to beat the Blazers.

The Trail Blazers Need More From McCollum

While CJ McCollum entered this series with some injury concerns, he’s put those aside to be an offensive contributor for the Blazers. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm has lead to some significant inefficiency.

McCollum was a +3 on the game, but his 24 points came from 9-24 shooting from the field. He was decent from range though, and contributed admirably on the boards and dishing the ball.

The Blazers were able to take a game from the Thunder, but won’t be so lucky to keep the Thunder from scoring the ball for another match. It was decided by a hair, McCollum will need to be a key player in their next match.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

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: Dennis Schroder (OKC) vs Rodney Hood (POR)

Two key players off the bench have some keen eyes on them in Game 2. Schroder was poor in Game 1 while Hood contributed little in his 21 minutes of play. Both will look to play a bigger part of Game 2.

Dennis Schroder

Point Guard | 6-1, 172lb (185cm, 78kg) | Germany | Exp. 5 Years

15.5 PPG | 4.1 APG | 3.6 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 2.2 TOV | .414 FG% | .341 3P%

German point guard Dennis Schroder is one of the fastest players in the NBA. Sometimes to his own detriment.

His lack of control was on display in Game 1, as he converted on only five field-goals of an ill-advised seventeen attempted.

Only a 34% three-point shooter, Schroder would do better to attack the rim with only Kanter defending the paint.

Rodney Hood

Shooting Guard | 6-8, 206lb (203cm, 93kg) | Duke | Exp. 4 Years

11.2 PPG | 1.8 APG | 2.2 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 0.8 TOV | .435 FG% | .356 3P%

Long removed from his 16.8 PPG average in Utah, Rodney Hood now plays the role of the sixth man for the Portland Trail Blazers.

He is yet to find his niche with Portland, as his key abilities lie in isolation scoring, rather than involving a less talented unit.

DeRozan-esque in his physicality and ability, Hood needs to do better than five points in Game 2. He can change a game with his offense, but he needs to be a more assertive factor off the bench.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers Predictions and Odds

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