A battle between two of the top four teams in the West promises to be a good one. A duel between Russ and Dame, Paul George and the defensive-minded Al-Farouq Aminu. This is a good test for Portland, who has played up and down ball all year.
OKC looks to keep it rolling after totally blowing out the Knicks yesterday afternoon. Jerami Grant will have a good chance to play well.
They have been playing well of late, and their offense has moved up five spots in the past week, from #15 in points for to #10. Lillard has been on a tear of late, while Nurkic has been having quite the impressive week. They still rank right smack in the middle, #15 in points allowed, but this team is always judged on playoff success. A few prior first-round exits in a row don’t give them a good look.
This is a team that has finally figured out that Jake Layman belongs in the rotation full-time. Though it comes at the expense of Nik Stauskas, who has had many big games this year, it is a move that will pay-off in the long run. Seth Curry keeps sinking his threes, while they continue to play well overall. They will find themselves hosting a playoff series as of right now, which also means a second-round showdown with GS. They could use a win.
With the #11 scoring defense, combined with their top-12 scoring offense, life is good in OKC. Between George, Westbrook, Schroder, and Adams, they have four guys that can really put the ball in the hoop. But on Russ…. He is somehow shooting just 41% from the floor, 23% from three, and 63% at the line. His stat-line is wildly impressive, and he is still averaging a triple-double, but these shooting numbers are puzzling. As long as they keep winning, we won’t question it.
This team has won a few games in a row now, and they are starting to get their groove back. Terrance Ferguson has been on an absolute tear, knocking down threes at a wild rate. He has made things a little easier and puts less pressure on closing games with Dennis Schroder on the regular. As long as Stevens Adams is on the floor, the toughness of the group can really never be questioned. At the end of the day, the Thunder will be looked at as a contender, and games like this are important in proving it.
OKC picks up win #29, keep ahead of POR for #3
Riding with the Thunder! Paul George is going to have a masterful performance, while a big double-double from Steven Adams will help to power them to victory. Russ will triple-double again, and Dame’s 35 points won’t be enough on this night for Portland.
Free Pick: OKC
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