clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Preview

New, comments

The Blazers hope to bounce back in the second game of a home back-to-back.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (29-19) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-28)

The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at home in the Moda Center tonight after a rough loss to the Milwaukee Bucks last night 127-109. Even with the loss to the Bucks, Portland’s winning record continues to shine as they remain in the race for the playoffs.

Saturday, April 3 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Nassir Little (out)
Thunder injuries: Al Horford (out), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (out), Luguentz Dort (out), Darius Bazley (out), Mike Muscala (out)
SBN Affiliate: Welcome to Loud City

What To Watch For

  • Blazers Bounce Back. The Trail Blazers are notorious for their ability to come off of a loss and go into their next game looking for a win. Even though the team lost to the Bucks last night, expect Portland to shake off that loss and play hard for a win against Oklahoma City.
  • Robert Covington. The Trail Blazers forward has been a somewhat quiet weapon for Portland. He started out struggling at the beginning of the season and has since become a crucial part of the team’s starting lineup. His defensive ability combined with his ability to score the ball has made him the 3&D player Portland needed. He’s quietly become one of the team’s top performers.
  • Moses Brown. Former Portland Trail Blazers two way player, Moses Brown, is making a name for himself on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Brown was formerly playing in the G-league and on a two-way contract with Portland. He’s been playing for the Thunder on a two-way as well, and now joins the regular team roster. We know first hand what kind of damage he can do to an opponent, and this time he’s on the other team.

What Others Are Saying

Former Portland Trail Blazer Moses Brown has been playing well for the Oklahoma. City Thunder. Trey Hunter of Welcome to Loud City talks about his contributions:

He has recorded four double-doubles, including a 21-point, 23-rebound performance in a loss to the Boston Celtics, tying the franchise single-game rebound record and becoming just the sixth member of the Thunder’s 20-20 club.

But despite Brown now surpassing nearly every projection, at least over the last 10 games, Daigneault isn’t quite ready to predict the 21-year-old’s career path.

“One thing I’ve found over time is that if you place a ceiling on a guy too soon, sometimes the ceiling is too low, and you don’t give them enough credit for how good they can be,” Daigneault said. “If we put a ceiling on him at the beginning of the year, I don’t know if we could have predicted that he would get 20-20 in an NBA game, and here he is.”

Sam Quinn of CBS Sports outlines how the Blazers have been doing against top contenders:

Damian Lillard raised an interesting point after the loss. “This is one of the best years since I’ve been here in terms of winning the games we’re ‘supposed’ to win,” he told reporters. “But against the top teams, we haven’t fared well.” Statistically speaking, he’s right.

This might seem obvious and, to an extent, it applies to most teams. It’s just especially meaningful to the Blazers considering how they tend to win games. Portland is 10 games above .500, but has a negative point differential. The Blazers are where they are almost exclusively because of Lillard. He is so good in the clutch that, when matched up against weaker teams that theoretically lack top shot-makers, he can outscore his opposing counterpart almost every time. But when the Blazers run into another contender? It doesn’t go so well. Their last lost prior to Friday came against James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets.