NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction - Portland Trail Blazers vs Oklahoma City Thunder - Game 3
Portland Trail Blazers (53-29) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (49-33)
20th April 2019, 7:00am IST,
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Portland Trail Blazers lead the series 2-0.
Head to Head (Playoffs):
Games played: 18 games
Won by Oklahoma City Thunder: 8 games
Won by Portland Trail Blazers: 10 games
The Portland Trail Blazers travel to the Chesapeake Energy Arena to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in a crucial game 3 for both teams. The 3rd seed Portland Trail Blazers have taken a 2-0 lead in this series against the 6th seed Thunder.
The Blazers have not put a step wrong on their way to the 2-0 lead in the series, beating the Thunder comprehensively in both games. They had a 53-29 regular season record, helping them get home court on the last day of the regular season.
The Thunder, on the other hand, ended their regular season on a sour note, but still had a 49-33 record, thanks to some heroics by Paul George and Russell Westbrook. They are struggling to get going in this series and need a monumental effort to mount a comeback.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Guards Andre Roberson and Hamidou Diallo are out with a knee and an elbow injury respectively.
Portland Trail Blazers: Center Jusuf Nurkic is out with a leg injury.
Players to watch out for:
Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder):
Paul George had his best regular season ever with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. With Westbrook taking a back seat on the offense, this allowed George to go all out this season and vaulted himself into MVP considerations.
He averaged a huge 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game, all of them being new career highs for George. He even attempted a huge 9.8 3 pointers a game, making them at just under 39%.
He has been the driving force of this team offensively all season and with his shoulder injury after the All-Star break, the Thunder as well as George's game, have not been at the same level. George needs to find his rhythm again before the series goes out of hand for the Thunder.
Last game stats: 27 points, 11-20 FG, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 5 TOs against the Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers):
Damian Lillard has been a really consistent performer for the Portland Trail Blazers this season and throughout his career as well. He missed just 2 games this season and has led them to the 3rd seed with some stellar performances in the regular season.
Lillard averaged a superb 25.8 points, 6.9 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game this season for the Blazers. He has led them from the front, including when the team needed clutch plays from him, to get them past the finish line.
He has been the offensive juggernaut, picking up the slack from a mediocre season by McCollum and with the Nurkic injury, he has to shoulder more load on the offensive end and has done just that in the playoff matches this season. If the Thunder want to stand any chance, they need to keep Lillard under wraps for all the remaining games.
Last game stats: 29 points, 10-21 FG, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 2 TOs against the Oklahoma City Thunder
Predicted Starting Lineups:
Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook (G), Terrance Ferguson (G), Jeremi Grant (F), Paul George (F), Steven Adams (C)
Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard (G), CJ McCollum (G), Maurice Harkless (F), Al-Farouq Aminu (F), Enes Kanter (C)
Predicted Match Result: Oklahoma City Thunder will beat the Portland Trail Blazers
With almost nothing between the 2 teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder will end up winning the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, since they have the home court advantage on their side.
They will also be playing will revenge on their minds as they will look to stop their slide and keep their playoff hopes alive with a win to make it 2-1 in the playoff series.