Portland Trail Blazers @ Oklahoma City Thunder – Friday November 2, 2012 8:00PM EST
The Oklahoma City Thunder ran into a lot of obstacles in the playoffs last year that lead to a loss on the NBA finals to the Miami Heat. The biggest thing that the public noticed was a lack of scoring from the Oklahoma City bench. Starters Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can only take the team so far. The Thunder needed those role players that are critical to every championship team. The Heat had them and the Thunder did not. This year, the Thunder has made roster changes that filled in a lot of the gaps that the team had last year. Now fans get to see if those changes will result in more wins.
The Portland Trail Blazers are ready to rely on players such as Wesley Matthews to help Portland make a run at the playoffs this year. The players are figuring that a record around eight to 10 games over .500 should put Portland close to a playoff spot in the Western Conference. In this game, the Trail Blazers get to see how much improvement its roster moves will actually make on the team’s performance. Matthews and players such as LaMarcus Aldridge are not able to carry the weight of the team on their own. The younger players and new Trail Blazers will have to step up and start carrying the weight.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The thing that the online betting sites have always liked about the Thunder is that the team is confident. Durant and Westbrook work well together and have no problem leading the charge against the best teams in the NBA. The difference this season will be that Westbrook and Durant now have help off the bench to seal victories and finish out important games. This Oklahoma City team will look much different than it did last year, but in a very good way.
Portland Trail Blazers
To many of the sports betting experts, it seems like the Portland Trail Blazers have been rebuilding for years. The team has still not brought in players that can help to shore up the backcourt and there is still a desperate need for a rebounder in the paint. The Blazers will keep looking for answers this season and it is not out of the question to expect Portland to make a few moves during the season as well. As for this game, the Trail Blazers are just going to try and weather the storm and see how well its new players stand up to this conference foe.
The Bottom Line
The Trail Blazers may be able to hang with the Thunder at the outset of the game, but Oklahoma City will pull away by the third quarter. This will be a fast game to watch, but Portland’s shortcomings will show.
Read more about the Thunder and its run at another Western Conference championship.
Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder