Trail Blazers-Thunder Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 02, 2012
Circumstances have changed for the Oklahoma City Thunder since they last played a meaningful home game. The Thunder have won their last three home openers heading into Friday night's matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers. The last time Oklahoma City was preparing to play at home, it was Game 2 of the NBA Finals against Miami after the Thunder took the opener. The Heat, of course, won that contest and the next three at home to earn the title. The Thunder are still considered among the league's top contenders, but it's not clear yet how last week's trade of reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to Houston will affect their chemistry. Kevin Martin, acquired in that deal, has filled Harden's role as Oklahoma City's top reserve. "Even though they lost James Harden, Kevin Martin is a quality scorer off the bench," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. Oklahoma City opened its season Thursday with an 86-84 loss at San Antonio in a rematch of the Western Conference finals. Martin scored 15 points in his Thunder debut. "I thought K-Mart did a great job," coach Scott Brooks said. Oklahoma City shot 37.7 percent in a game that featured 15 lead changes. Reigning scoring champion Kevin Durant had a game-high 23 points while Russell Westbrook finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and six turnovers. "That was a great first game, it's the way to open up the season," Brooks said. "I wish we had won the game but there's nothing to be ashamed of. I told the guys, 'Let's go back tomorrow night and play with the same type of force and intensity and toughness.'" Westbrook will match up with Portland's Damian Lillard, the sixth overall pick in the draft. Lillard had 22 points and 11 assists in his NBA debut Wednesday in Portland's season-opening 116-106 victory over the Lakers. Lillard joined Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas as the only players with at least 20 points and 10 assists in their debuts. Now he'll get his first look at the two-time All-Star Westbrook, who averaged 27.5 points, 7.3 assists and 8.8 boards as the Thunder took three of four from the Trail Blazers last season. "He's going to be tough, he's a really explosive athlete, a really aggressive player looking to score the ball," said Lillard, who also had six turnovers Wednesday. "It'll be a challenge just like every other night." Nicolas Batum had 26 points as all five starters scored in double figures and Wesley Matthews added 22 for Portland, which scored 28 points off 24 turnovers by the Lakers and now faces a Thunder team that was last in the league in that department with 16.3 per game in 2011-12. The Trail Blazers are beginning a three-game trip over four nights after going 8-25 on the road last season for the league's fourth-worst mark. "I'm looking forward to it," Lillard said. "In college you play one or two games a week so you got a lot of practice in between. At the end of the day, we all just wanna hoop, we wanna play." Durant's 23.8 career average against Portland is his second-worst against a Western Conference opponent.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Jimmy Butler recruiting Kyle Lowry to the Timberwolves

WATCH: Tim Tebow didn't waste any time homering after promotion

Nolan Arenado throws out runner from seated position

NFL fans in Florida seem to like Tom Brady more than any of their three teams’ players

Austin Rivers responds to ‘false’ report about Chris Paul issues

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mayweather-McGregor fight is reportedly seeking a $10 million title sponsor

Kevin Durant laughs off Rockets’ acquisition of Chris Paul

Terry Francona wearing heart monitor in case of another 'episode'

Albert Almora denies flipping off President Donald Trump during White House visit

Nationals minor league team will give out ‘Ode to Tommy John’ figurines

Blazers post hilarious tweets after acquiring cash from Rockets

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker