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Thunder In Portland To Begin Back-To-Back Road Games

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Portland is currently in the eighth spot in the West while sitting two games under .500. That's weird.

Portland spent a lot of money over the offseason after a lackluster season with no LaMarcus Aldridge. Last season, they spent five percent less than the salary cap. This season, they've spent 20 percent more.

That 25 percent salary cap difference has resulted in only a one game improvement over this same point in last season.

The Thunder, winners of seven of their last eight, might have caught the Blazers at a strange time. They've lost four straight but against pretty good teams. Three of the four (Clippers, Pacers, Grizzlies) made the playoffs last season and are probably playoff teams this season.

I always look forward to this game. Every time the Thunder play the Blazers is worth watching.

Russ versus Dame D.O.L.L.A. is hands down the best matchup in the NBA. They're almost the same player but Lillard is exiled all the way in the Pacific Northwest. Lillard also never had the same complementary pieces that Russ has had. Yes, he had Aldridge but name anybody else. Do it. I'll wait.

The rest of the roster in Portland falls well short of whatever shortcomings that fill the Thunder roster. The Thunder bench is better than the Portland bench. Just about every lineup combo for OKC beats Portland's lineups. Point guard is the only edge, though, that Portland owns.

LET ME EXPLAIN.

Napier is Lillard's backup. Those two together are better than just Russ. I'm basing this off math alone and I hope I'm wrong. I probably am the most wrong I've ever been to underestimate Russ. Particularly this season.

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