Northwest Division rivals OKC Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers will both be looking to bounce back from their respective blowout losses when they face off on Saturday. This will be the third matchup between the two sides and each team has one win against the other so far.
Fixture: OKC Thunder vs Portland Trail Blazers | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Saturday, April 3rd, 10 PM ET (Sunday, 7:30 AM IST)
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, OR
OKC Thunder Preview
The OKC Thunder are well and truly in tank mode now. The emphasis has shifted to player development entirely following the injury to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. They were handed a 103-140 walloping by the Phoenix Suns on the road last night. It was the Thunder's biggest loss of the season, and their fourth in their last five games.
Rookies Theo Maledon and Aleksej Pokusevski were the only positives on Friday as they dropped 33 and 20 points respectively. The OKC Thunder duo became the first teammates in NBA history aged under 20 to record 20 or more points in the same game.
Svi Mykhailiuk should start for the OKC Thunder against the Portland Trail Blazers with Luguentz Dort likely to miss out again due to the concussion protocol. Mykhailiuk had a tough game in Phoenix but had scored 38 points in the two outings prior to that.
Key Player - Theo Maledon
Theo Maledon became only the second OKC Thunder player to score 30 points in his rookie season after Russell Westbrook. He has showcased tremendous confidence of late, averaging 18 points, six rebounds and 2.8 assists in the last five games. Maledon didn't have much of an impact in the two previous games against the Portland Trail Blazers, but he'll get another chance on Saturday.
OKC Thunder Predicted Lineup
G Theo Maledon, G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, F Aleksej Pokusevski, F Isaiah Roby, C Moses Brown
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers saw their four-game winning run come to an end at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. This was only Portland's third loss in the last 10 games. Terry Stotts' men will get a chance to regroup against the OKC Thunder before hitting the road again.
Jusuf Nurkic has missed a lot of game time this season due to a fractured wrist. Nurkic made his return for the Portland Trail Blazers roughly a week ago, averaging 8.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in the four games he's played since. He'll evidently take some time to get up to speed.
The same isn't the case for CJ McCollum and Norman Powell. McCollum has averaged 20.4 points and 4.6 assists since returning from his foot injury. Meanwhile, Powell has averaged 15.3 points and 2.3 steals in his first four games for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Key Player - Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is edging closer and closer towards an MVP honor each season. Dame Dolla is carrying the Portland Trail Blazers on his back, averaging 29.9 points and 7.8 assists per game. Lillard's love affair with OKC Thunder dates back to his Game 5 winner in the 2019 playoffs. With Lu Dort likely to miss this game, Lillard will be looking to tally more than the 31 points he managed in the previous outing against the Thunder.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
G Damian Lillard, G CJ McCollum, F Norman Powell, F Robert Covington, C Jusuf Nurkic
Thunder vs Trail Blazers Match Prediction
Although OKC Thunder have been unpredictable this season, their recent results suggest that they'll be giving up a ton of points. They have a few bright spots on the team but no one is capable of matching the scoring capacity of Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. Expect the Blazers to win this matchup.
Where to watch Thunder vs Trail Blazers?
Local coverage of this game will be available on Bally Sports Oklahoma and NBC Sports Northwest. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.