Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#563 Portland Trail Blazers 221 vs.
#564 Oklahoma City Thunder -6
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 9:05pm EST
Chesapeake Enery Arena, Oklahoma City
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#563 Portland
#564 Oklahoma City
18-25
23-19
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111
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The Oklahoma City Thunder will head to the Moda Center on Saturday night as they prepare for a Western Conference showdown against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Thunder enter the weekend in seventh place in the Western Conference standings with a 23-19 overall record. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture in the West. Portland trails the Memphis Grizzlies in 2.5-games for the No. 8-seed in the Western Conference but the Trail Blazers still have plenty of work to do after winning just 18 of their first 43 contests. Can Portland get back on the winning track at home against the Thunder on Saturday night?

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Thunder fall short vs. Heat

The Thunder came up short at home against the Miami Heat on Friday night despite 27 points from Danilo Gallinari. Dennis Shroder came off the bench to finish with 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in a losing effort for the Thunder, who trailed by as many as 22 points with just over 8 minutes remaining before making a late run. Shooting guard Terrance Ferguson left the game ill and did not return.

Oklahoma City was without starting center Steven Adams, who left Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Raptors with a right knee contusion. Nerlens Noel missed the previous game with a knee injury but took Adams’ spot in the starting lineup against the Heat, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes of action.

Over their last 15 games, the Thunder have been displaying some growth on both ends of the floor. They’ve won 12 of their last 15 contests while flashing improvement in some key areas. During that span, they rank 12th in the league with a 111.6 offensive rating and 11th on the defensive end with a 108.9 mark.

Trail Blazers lose McCollum to sprained ankle

Portland fell on the road 120-112 in Dallas versus the Mavericks on Friday night. Damian Lillard played through an illness in the loss, scoring 33 points and dishing out 10 assists in the loss. Carmelo Anthony added 22 points while Hassan Whiteside chipped in 21 points and 18 rebounds for Portland, which shot 9-for-30 from beyond the arc on the night.

The Trail Blazers also lost shooting guard C.J. McCollum, who exited the game with a sprained left ankle. McCollum was injured after landing on the foot of Dallas forward Maxi Kleber in the second quarter. He is second on the team in scoring at 21.9 points and 3.8 assists per game.

A lack of frontcourt depth has really hurt the Trail Blazers this season. Hassan Whiteside is currently the only player taller than 6-foot-8 on the current roster, making it difficult for Portland to make up for injuries to Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Skal Labassiere. That has some people calling for the Trail Blazers to make a move as they try to contend for a playoff spot. Former Trail Blazer and current Utah Jazz center Ed Davis has been one of the names mentioned as a potential trade candidate.

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The Thunder should have the advantage in this game. The Trail Blazers are dealing with a ton of injuries and playing on the second night of a back-to-back isn’t going to help. Portland just lost shooting guard C.J McCollum on Friday night and Lillard was playing with an illness, so it’s hard to see the Trail Blazers being very competitive in this spot. While the Thunder as also playing on the second night of a back-to-back, they had the benefit of playing both of their games at home. Look for Oklahoma City to cover the number at home against Portland on Saturday night.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder

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These two teams rank at the opposite ends of the pace spectrum. Portland comes in at No. 12 in the NBA in pace while the Thunder come in at 22nd in the league, so this should turn into more of an average-paced game here. Portland has also struggled defensively, ranking 24th in the NBA in defensive efficiency with a 112.0 rating. With both of these teams playing on the second night of a back-to-back, defense is probably going to be optional in this game. Take this matchup to go over the projected total on Saturday night. 

Prediction: Over
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.