OKC Thunder tilt against Portland will help shape their season

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder are wrapping up a three-game west coast swing in Portland tonight to get on the Trailblazers in a battle that will help shape the rest of the season for OKC Thunder. Portland rests a half-game ahead of the Thunder in the Western Conference standings as the two teams tussle for a postseason spot in the highly competitive conference.

The Thunder swept the Trailblazers in a two-game baseball-style series earlier this year, including a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander buzzer-beater to top Portland on the night Damian Lillard became the franchises All-Time leading scorer. With a win tonight, OKC would clinch the tiebreaker over Portland.

The OKC Thunder will battle the Portland Trailblazers in a game that will help shape their season.

As the dust settles from the NBA Trade Deadline, the Oklahoma City Thunder sit in an interesting position. As the Western Conference got a lot tougher, the Thunder are still hanging around just a half-game out of the play-in tournament, with two and a half games separating them from the Phoenix Suns for the sixth seed.

On the flip side of that coin, the OKC Thunder are only two games back of the sixth-worst record in the league, which would juice their lottery odds at landing the top overall pick and generational star Victor Wembanyama as well as the odds to leap up into the top four of a loaded draft class.

Prior to the All-Star Break, the Thunder will play the Trail Blazers tonight, the Pelicans in the Paycom Center on Monday, and the Houston Rockets in Bricktown on Wednesday. A win tonight and taking care of business at home against the Rockets before getting away for a much-needed break will help the team stay in the hunt for the stretch run.

However, stumbling here and to the surging Pelicans, things could look a lot different after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s first All-Star game appearance.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have upgraded Lu Dort to available after a hamstring injury has sidelined him for the last few games. New Addition Dario Saric is staying with the team for the remainder of the season, it appears. However, he is on the way to Oklahoma City and will rejoin the team as they return home for their finals homestand before the break.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Ousmane Dieng remain in the G-League, while Chet Holmgren and Aleksej Pokusevski are each sidelined in this contest. Portland will be without Kevin Knox, Matisse Thybulle, Justise Winslow, Jusuf Nurkic and list Keon Johnson as questionable.

Next. A new-look rotation for the Oklahoma City Thunder post NBA Trade Deadline. dark