The Oklahoma City Thunder return home tonight in hopes of winning their second straight game as they will take on the Portland Trail Blazers.
It will be the third meeting this season between the Thunder and Blazers. OKC won the first two games.
The Thunder won 106-92 in what was just the second game of the season for OKC and first home game. Kevin Durant had 23 points and 17 rebounds in the win and Russell Westbrook had 32 points on 13-of-24 shooting.
The Thunder then won in Portland 87-83 on Jan. 13. Durant had 33 in that game and Westbrook had just 18 on 5-for-21 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge had 33 to lead the Blazers.
What makes this a particularly good matchup for the Thunder is Portland’s lack of depth. They play their five starters as much as nearly any team in the NBA.
At home tonight, the Thunder should have an advantage when their second unit checks in. The Thunder bench always shoots better at home and we’ve been waiting awhile to see them have a good performance.
Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin got back on track in the Thunder’s last game, a win on the road vs. the Orlando Magic. The Thunder always needs at least one of them to step up no matter how well Durant and Westbrook play.
Westbrook has been a beast and then a problem in the two meetings thus far vs. Portland. He will likely try and go at rookie point guard Damian Lillard so expect a lot of shots from Russ tonight. At home, he usually makes more than he misses and lately he’s been playing better as well.
Aldridge has had some success against the Thunder this season but OKC has done a nice job keeping him away from the free throw line. If they make Aldridge a volume shooter, they should have no problem getting the win.
Nicolas Batum is always an X-factor for the Blazers. He has the potential to really go off on any given night and the Thunder will have to make sure to avoid this tonight.
Batum can also do a decent job defending Durant so keep an eye on the small forward matchup all night.
The game will tip at 7 p.m. EST.