The surging Thunder heads to Portland tonight to take on the slumping Blazers with a chance to take over sixth place in the West. Tipoff is set for 9:30 p.m. CT.
Oklahoma City (35-25) improved to 3-0 after the All-Star Break in Tuesday’s 109-106 win against Utah and further assimilated newcomers Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott into the fold. The pair is averaging 17.0 points and 8.7 rebounds since joining the Thunder last week. Freshly-signed backup point guard Norris Cole has joined the team on the road trip but it's undetermined when he'll see on-court action.
Victor Oladipo will continue to miss time due to back spasms; he didn't make the trip to Portland. Rookie Alex Abrines has filled in admirably averaging 14.3 points and shooting 52 percent on threes since stepping into the starting lineup for Oladipo.
Per Thunder: Oladipo did not make the trip to Portland #news9Thunder— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) March 2, 2017
Per Thunder: Oladipo did not make the trip to Portland #news9Thunder
Enes Kanter is rounding back into form as well. In his first game back from a broken arm, Kanter shot just 2-for-12 and finished with four points. The next two games he’s averaged 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds on 13-for-21 shooting.
The Blazers (24-35) had a tough February, going 2-7 in the month and giving up 111.2 points per game over that stretch. Still, they’re just three games behind Denver for eighth place and a playoff spot. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are both having career years scoring at 26.0 and 23.3 ppg respectively and the pair takes 43 percent of Portland’s shots.
New center Jusuf Nurkic, acquired in a trade with Denver for Mason Plumlee, is thriving with the Blazers giving them 13.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Tonight’s contest will be his first game in Portland.
The Thunder haven’t won in Portland since Feb. 11, 2014. With his next triple double, Russell Westbrook will tie Wilt Chamberlain for second on the single-season record book with 31 triple doubles. Oscar Robertson holds the record for triple doubles in a season at 41.