Super Bowl Sunday isn’t just about football, as the Thunder will be in action at 2:00 p.m. when it hosts the Portland Trailblazers.
Here are a few things to know about the matchup:
Blazers playing well
Despite not living up to expectations this season, the Blazers (22-29) have won four of their last six games with their only two losses coming against the mighty Warriors and a narrow loss to the Mavericks where Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry combined for 51 points.
Damian Lillard scored only 13 points against Dallas, but the electric point guard is averaging nearly 26 points per game while his backcourt mate, C.J. McCollum, adds 23.5 of his own to give the Trailblazers a solid scoring duo.
While Portland is No. 8 in the league in points per game with 107.7, the Blazers rank No. 26 in points against with 109.9 as they struggle to defend on the perimeter. Look for OKC’s wing players to get a lot of open shots from deep.
The Blazers and Thunder have already met once this season with Portland winning the first matchup 114-95 on Dec. 13.
It was a brutal loss for the Thunder, as Russell Westbrook struggled from the field in only 27 minutes of action. Westbrook seemed to be a bit disinterested in the game at points, and was given a technical after kicking the ball away from Lillard.
OKC is a team that has a lot of pride, so it’s likely they remember that loss up in Portland and will look to make up for it at home on Sunday afternoon.
Second unit playing better
It was no coincidence that OKC dropped its first three games after Enes Kanter’s injury as the Thunder struggled to score while Westbrook wasn’t on the floor. But in OKC’s win over the Grizzlies on Friday, the bench unit played a lot better.
Joffrey Lauvergne and Cameron Payne both played arguably their best games of the season with 16 and 9 points respectively while Anthony Morrow drained 5-of-7 shots for 15 points. All three guys will be vital to the Thunder’s success moving forward and will need to knock down shots in order for this team to win with Kanter out.
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