NBA Thursday Night Game: Thunder @ Trail Blazers Preview

March 7, 2019 by Ryan Knuppel

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City ThunderTwo of the top teams in the Western Conference face off in a Northwest Division matchup as the Thunder meet the Trailblazers in Portland. The Thunder lead the all time series 119-116, and the Thunder have won 3 straight in the matchup.

The Thunder are coming off a 131-120 loss to the Timberwolves on the road on Tuesday. Last Saturday (3/2) they lost 116-102 to the Spurs on the road, and last Sunday (3/3) they beat the Grizzlies 99-95 at home.

The Trail Blazers are coming off a 120-111 loss on the road at Memphis on Tuesday. Last Friday (3/1) they lost 117-119 to the Raptors on the road and last Sunday (3/3) they beat the Hornets 118-108 on the road.

On the season, the Thunder are 33-31 ATS, 17-16 ATS on the road, and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games. On the season, the Trail Blazers are 37-27 ATS, 21-11 ATS at home, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games.

BetOnline has the Trail Blazers as 3.5 point favourites with an O/U total of 234.

Oklahoma City Thunder

(39-25 overall, 17-16 on the road, 4-6 in last 10)

The Thunder average 115.3 PPG, 47.9 RPG, 12.3 ORPG, 23.4 APG, 9.9 SPG, 5.2 BPG, and 14.1 TPG. As a team they shoot 45.8% from the field, 71.4% from the free throw line, and 34.8% from 3 point range. Defensively they hold teams to 111.2 PPG, 45.7 RPG, 46.1% shooting from the field, and 35.3% shooting from 3 point range.

Paul George leads the way for them with 28.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 2.3 SPG while shooting 44.6% from the field, 84.2% from the free throw line, and 39.5% from 3 point range. Russell Westbrook stuffs the stat sheet with 22.7 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 10.7 APG, and 2.1 SPG while shooting 42.4/65.0/27.4. Dennis Schroder chips in 15.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.2 APG and 0.9 SPG. Steven Adams (14.6 PPG/9.8 RPG/4.7 ORPG/1.6 SPG/0.8 BPG), Jerami Grant (13.3 PPG/5.1 RPG/1.3 BPG/38.3% from 3), Markieff Morris (7.6 PPG/3.4 RPG/36.8% from 3) and Terrance Ferguson (6.8 PPG/1.7 RPG/0.6 SPG/36.8% from 3) contribute as well.

Key Injuries

G Andre Roberson (knee) – out

Portland Trail Blazers

(39-25 overall, 37-27 at home, 6-4 in last 10)

The Trail Blazers average 113.6 PPG, 47.6 RPG, 11.3 ORPG, 22.9 APG, 6.8 SPG, 5.0 BPG, and 14.0 TPG. As a team they shoot 46.6% from the field, 82.0% from the free throw line, and 36.0% from 3 point range. Defensively they hold teams to 110.2 PPG, 42.8 RPG, 45.8% shooting from the field, and 36.4% shooting from 3 point range.

Damian Lillard leads Portland with 25.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.4 APG and 1.1 SPG while shooting 44.7% from the field, 91.1% from the free throw line, and 36.7% from 3 point range. C.J. McCollum is a big contributor as well, averaging 21.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.9 APG and 0.8 SPG while shooting 45.9/83.6/37.4. Big man Jusuf Nurkic adds 15.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.2 ORPG, 1.0 SPG and 1.5 BPG. Enes Kanter (11.3 PPG/6.8 RPG/0.7 SPG), Al Farouq Aminu (9.4 PPG/7.6 RPG/0.9 SPG/36.4% from 3), Jake Layman (8.0 PPG/3.2 RPG/35.5% from 3) and Rodney Hood (8.0 PPG/3.2 RPG/0.5 SPG/35.5% from 3) chip in as well.

Predictions

These two teams appear to be trending in different directions as of late. The Thunder are 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 games, and are just 2-5 straight up since the All Star Break. The Blazers are 7-3 against the spread in their last 10, and are 5-2 straight up since the All Star break. The Thunder are not playing poorly, they are just struggling to close out games, and against a top tier opponent in Portland that does not bode well. They also missed Paul George for 3 games before his return Tuesday against Minnesota.

The Blazers have gotten by with their brand of isolation basketball, which is a dying brand in today’s league. 31% of their shots have come on pullup jumpers, and 35% of their shots have come on more than 3 dribbles, so the Thunder’s on ball defenders will be a boon for them. However, the trends are too much to ignore. The Thunder’s woes since the ASB coupled with the Blazers improvements as well as the fact that the game is on the road make the Blazers the right side here.

Final Pick: Trail Blazers -3.5