Trail Blazers @ Thunder Game Thread
After the improbable finish that was against the Spurs, Portland takes their show on the road for their last extended road trip of the season, starting in Oklahoma City Sunday night. Although OKC has a 2-0 lead in the season series (wins @PDX on Nov. 4th, 107-106 OT and @OKC on Nov. 12th, 110-108), both teams have changed significantly. Gone from the Thunder are Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic and replaced by Nazr Mohammed and Kendrick Perkins. Portland lost Joel Przybilla and Dante Cunningham, but gained Gerald Wallace. This is a potential 1st round matchup if the Trail Blazers can move up into the 5 slot, so look for this game to be a pretty big measuring stick.
With the addition of Perkins, Portland no longer has the size advantage they once had down low, but Portland can still win the battle in the paint. While Perkins and Ibaka are beasts defensively, they leave a lot to be desired on the offensive end of the floor. This is where the Blazers can take advantage with Gerald Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge. They'll most likely play LA straight up, so Coach McMillan must find multiple ways to get the Blazer big involved. The other key matchup is Miller vs. Westbrook. In the 2 prior games, Westbrook has been the difference, not Durant, by averaging 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Look for Portland to defend Russell, the way they did with Parker: throwing multiple sets and defenders at him the entire night.continue