National Basketball Association
Preview
Oklahoma City at Portland
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon

There’s a good chance the Oklahoma City Thunder will have just nine healthy players when they travel west to take on the host Portland Trail Blazers in Wednesday’s season opener for both sides. Already without All-Star forward Kevin Durant and fellow front-courters Anthony Morrow and Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City saw two of its key guards, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb, hobble off the practice floor Monday and the two players will be sidelined for both the first two games.

The Thunder still have a healthy Russell Westbrook running the point and he should be eager to show what he can do as the team’s No. 1 scoring option. He’ll be matched against one of the top players on Portland in Damian Lillard, who struggled against Oklahoma City last season, shooting 35.6 percent in four games and scoring below his 20.7 average in three of those meetings. Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge is beginning the final year of his five-year contract and backup center Chris Kaman appears to be revitalized after he was used sparingly the last three seasons by the Pelicans, Mavericks and Lakers.

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Oklahoma, KGW (Portland)

ABOUT THE THUNDER (2013-14: 59-23): One of the players who will need to step up in the absence of Durant, Morrow and McGary is third-year forward Perry Jones, who stands 6-11 but prefers to shoot from the perimeter. He scored a team-high 20 points off the bench in the preseason finale last week against the Jazz, but his six turnovers and five missed free throws also stood out on the stat line. Another player who could see increased playing time out of desperation is center Grant Jerrett, who spent last season in the D-League and missed all of the preseason with an ankle injury.

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (2013-14: 54-28): Nicolas Batum should also be salivating at the opportunity to take on a Thunder team that could potentially be without all five of its wings. Batum played in all 82 games last season, a first in his six-year NBA career, but saw his scoring average and shooting percentages slip from the previous two seasons. One area that he significantly improved in was rebounding, bumping his average to 7.5 after finishing under six rebounds a game in his previous five seasons.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Thunder coach Scott Brooks announced Tuesday that Steven Adams beat out Kendrick Perkins as the starting center.

2. The Thunder went 25-11 while Westbrook was sidelined with a knee injury last season and 34-12 when he was in the lineup.

3. Portland hasn’t won a division title since 1999, when the season was shortened to 50 games because of a lockout.

PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 103, Thunder 97
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Oklahoma City 0-0 L4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Portland 0-0 W1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Oklahoma City Portland
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/11/14 OKC 98 POR 95 98 44 48.2 95 42 37.6
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Oklahoma City K. Durant 36 53.6 5
Portland N. Batum 18 62.5 5
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Oklahoma City S. Ibaka 11 4 7
Portland R. Lopez 14 6 8
Assists Player  
Oklahoma City R. Jackson 5
Portland D. Lillard 7
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Oklahoma City N/A
Portland N/A
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Oklahoma City N/A
Portland N/A
Assists Player  
Oklahoma City N/A
Portland N/A
Quickchart Matchup
Oklahoma City Off vs  Portland Defense
0.0 Points For
0.0 Points Against
0.0 FG%
0.0 FG%
0.0 Reb
0.0 Reb
Portland Off vs  Oklahoma City Defense
0.0 Points For
0.0 Points Against
0.0 FG%
0.0 FG%
0.0 Reb
0.0 Reb