As Portland tanks, OKC Thunder face most important stretch of the season

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder are gearing up to finish their four-game West Coast road trip in Portland against the “Trailblazers,” who have fully submerged themselves into the tank for Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, ending their season with eight games to play following this one, with a 32-41 record and three and a half games back of the NBA play-in tournament. This game tips off the most crucial stretch of the season for the OKC Thunder.

While the Portland Trailblazers will not receive near the “black eye of the league” backlash, the Oklahoma City Thunder did a year ago. The Trailblazers have shut their roster down for the second straight season with around ten games to go.

This is a smart move for a middling franchise with no direction. However, it impacts the Thunder in this pivotal game that they will not have to face superstar Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, Justise Winslow, Jerami Grant, or Ibou Badji. While the OKC Thunder will only miss their two players tabbed as out for the season, Chet Holmgren (foot) and Kenrich Williams (wrist).

The OKC Thunder will take on the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday to jumpstart the most critical stretch of the season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder sit at 36-38, in control of the final NBA play-in spot, and just a game away from the seventh slot and three games away from the sixth spot in the West Conference.

The OKC Thunder’s upcoming stretch features a road game in Portland Sunday, a home-home back-to-back with the lowly Hornets and Pistons Tuesday and Wednesday, before a Friday road trip to Indiana to take on the spunky Pacers.

In that stretch, the Thunder should be favored in each game and need to win all four contests. Of course, that is easier said than done for the youngest roster in the NBA and the second youngest ever.

Given how tight the standings are and the difficult stretch on the back end, hosting the Suns, going to Golden State and Utah, then the season finale against the Grizzlies, these next four games will decide the fate of the Thunder’s season.

While the teams are not imposing on the docket, the task of rattling off four straight wins (including a back-to-back stretch) is.

Drop your predictions for this critical stretch of the season in the comment section below!

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