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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Preview

Portland finally plays at home after a six-game road trip.

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Portland Trail Blazers v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (6-12) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-10)

November 27, 2019 - 7:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Gary Trent Jr. (probable)
Thunder injuries: Andre Roberson (out), Hamidou Diallo (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW
How to stream: Blazer’s Edge Streaming Guide
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Welcome to Loud City

The Portland Trail Blazers arrive home from a long road trip to face the Oklahoma City Thunder after a win over the Chicago Bulls 117-94. Carmelo Anthony made his presence known with 25 points, and Hassan Whiteside had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. CJ McCollum chipped in 21 points. Damian Lillard facilitated playmaking against the Bulls, racking up 12 assists.

The Oklahoma City Thunder come to Portland off a last-minute win against the depleted Golden State Warriors 100-97. The victory marked the first road win for the Thunder this season. Chris Paul managed 20 points, while Dennis Schroder came off the bench to contribute 22 points, and big man Steven Adams had 10 rebounds alongside 10 points. The win also put an end to a three-game losing streak for the Thunder.

What to watch for

  • Winning on the boards. Put simply: when the Blazers out-rebound their opponent, they have a greater chance to win. Taking advantage of the opportunity on the glass leads to second-chance points on offense, and it allows Portland to control the tempo on defense. The Blazers have had a hard time wrangling rebounds, but if that begins to change, it could be a clear tipping point for Portland.
  • Ball movement. In the game against the Bulls, the ball movement began to click. Terry Stotts’ playbook isn’t so much a playbook but rather a system of reads and wrinkles. It has proved to be difficult for new players to ease into his system, yet the Blazers finally showed signs of life in that respect by running plays with several passes, and Damian Lillard managing 12 assists is certainly indicative of that. We’ll see if Portland can keep up its passing against the Thunder.
  • Home advantage. The Thunder have struggled this season on the road, and admittedly, so have the Blazers. That said, it is the first time Carmelo Anthony will don a Blazers uniform on home court. There is no doubt that the crowd will bring energy and enthusiasm to welcome Melo to Rip City.

What they’re saying

Erik Horne of The Athletic discusses how Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is growing as a player this season:

As soon as Gilgeous-Alexander was anointed as the centerpiece of the Paul George trade, every move the Thunder made had to be viewed through the prism of his development. Games like Monday can help the seasoning of young players.

You could see Gilgeous-Alexander thinking — and overthinking — the game, penetrating deep into the Warriors’ defense and throwing passes into a crowd of arms. He passed up open 3-pointers to dribble into uncertain floaters and tough contests at the rim. He was 4-of-10 in the first half without a 3-point attempt — this coming from a 40.3 percent 3-point shooter. He didn’t take a 3-pointer all game.