What 2 Watch 4 - Trail Blazers Vs. Thunder



Nicolas Batum vs. Kevin Durant

The Portland Trail Blazers will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the 2013-14 season when they face the Thunder Wednesday night on a New Years Eve. They'll need to do a number of things if they're to hand the Thunder just their second home loss of the season, but their most important task will be trying to find a way to slow down Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant.

It takes a total team effort to make life difficult for an MVP-caliber player like Durant, Nicolas Batum will likely draw the unenviable task of guarding the 6-9 forward in his seventh season out of Texas. Durant is averaging 28.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals in December, but it's his shooting that has been the most problematic for his opponents. While Batum has all the tools to stick with Durant, there's not a whole lot you can do against a player who is shooting 54 percent from the field and a ridiculous 50 percent from three in his last 16 games.

So while the matchup between these small forwards is worth watching, be sure to pay attention to what the Trail Blazers do as a team to try and stop Durant.

Nicolas Batum

• Is 12th in the NBA and second among small forwards in three-pointers made with 66 makes on 38 percent shooting
• Ranks eighth among small forwards in blocks per game at 0.68 and 19th in steals per game with 1.0
• Recently partnered with Portland Parks & Rec to provide toys for over 500 kids at the Charles Jordan Community Center in North Portland

Kevin Durant

• Leads the NBA in scoring at 28.5 points per game, two points better than the player in second, Minnesota's Kevin Love
• Currently averaging career highs in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and assists (4.8 apg)
• Has scored 30+ points and grabbed 10+ rebounds in seven games this season