Photo / Bruce Ely

Blazers Host Thunder For First Matchup Of 2017-18

by Cody Sharrett

A six-game homestand continues Sunday evening when the Portland Trail Blazers (5-4) welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-4) to Moda Center (6pm, NBC Sports Northwest). The matchup is the first of four meeting between the two Northwest Division rivals in 2017-18. 

The Blazers host the Thunder fresh-off a Damian Lillard game-winning three-pointer with 0.7 seconds on the clock to beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 113-110, to begin the homestand on Thursday. Lillard finished with a game-high 32 points to go with six rebounds and five assists. Center Jusuf Nurkić added 28 points, while CJ McCollum poured in 22 to help Portland to the win. 

Oklahoma City visits the Rose City after falling to the Boston Celtics, 101-94, at home Friday night. New addition Paul George led the Thunder in the loss with 25 points, while reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook scored 19 points and dished out 11 assists. Forward Carmelo Anthony added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Through the first tenth of the regular season, every team in the NBA’s Western Conference has at least three losses. As expected, the 2017-18 campaign is shaping up to be a tightly contested battle for the eight playoff seeds in the West.

“I think it’s really intriguing that basically two-and-a-half games separate [seeds] one and 13,” Portland head coach Terry Stotts said Saturday. “We’ll see how it plays out the whole season, but I think that there’s going to be a lot jockeying all year long. After eight, nine games it’s already showing that.”

Tipoff for Sunday’s game is at 6pm, with live coverage on NBC Sports Northwest and Rip City Radio 620.