Oklahoma City Thunder Game Previews: December 12 - December 18


After winning against the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and losing a game to the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder carry a record of 15-9 and look to continue to build on their first place position in the Northwest Division. The Thunder begin action away from home in Rip City against the Portland Trailblazers and then immediately after, playing the Utah Jazz, in the second of a divisional back-to-back. After a few days off, the Thunder's week rounds off against the Phoenix Suns in Oklahoma City.

Portland Trail Blazers

Tuesday, 13 December 2016 at 10:30 PM ET Away

The Oklahoma City Thunder start off their week away from home against the Portland Trailblazers (12-13 Overall, 7-4 Home). Currently, the Trailblazers are three games back from the Thunder and these early match ups between both teams will really decide the final standings of the division.

The biggest match up in this game is between Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard. Both players are scoring phenoms and expect defense to go to the wayside as both players will score in volume until the final buzzer sounds. Another match up to watch is at the off guard position between Victor Oladipo and Blazers guard CJ McCollum. McCollum currently averages 22.6 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.6 rebounds and can easily go off like Lillard. Westbrook, Oladipo and the rest of the Thunder will have a serious task containing the Portland guard tandem. With the Blazers struggling out of the gate look for the Thunder to try and jump on this opportunity to help build upon their division lead.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Portland Trailblazers:

  • PG - Damian Lillard
  • SG - CJ McCollum
  • SF - Maurice Harkless
  • PF - Ed Davis
  • C - Mason Plumlee
  • Injuries  - Al-Farouq Aminu (Back, Day-to-Day), Festus Ezeli (Knee, Out Indefinitely)

Oklahoma City Thunder:

  • PG - Russell Westbrook
  • SG - Victor Oladipo
  • SF - Andre Roberson
  • PF - Domantas Sabonis
  • C - Steven Adams
  • Injuries - Victor Oladipo (Wrist, Day-to-Day), Cameron Payne (Foot, Out Indefinitely)

Utah Jazz

Wednesday, 14 December 2016 at 09:00 PM ET Away

After their bout in Rip City against the Trailblazers the Oklahoma City Thunder head to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz (15-10, 8-5 Home). The Jazz are currently tied with Oklahoma City for first place in the division and the Thunder will be looking for a win to take sole possession of first place.

One of the biggest match ups in this game is between Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert and Thunder center Steven Adams. Both players are defensive monsters with Gobert averaging 11.8 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks compared to Adams' 11.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks. Both big men will probably negate one another in a key Northwest Division match up. The other thing to watch in the Thunder's game against the Jazz is the bench battle. The Jazz have a bevy of depth and will test the Thunder's bench.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Utah Jazz:

  • PG - George Hill
  • SG - Gordon Hayward
  • SF - Joe Ingles
  • PF - Boris Diaw
  • C - Rudy Gobert
  • Injuries  - Rodney Hood (Hamstring, Day-to-Day), George Hill (Toe, Day-to-Day), Derrick Favors (Knee, Out Indefinitely), Alec Burks (Leg, Out Indefinitely)

Oklahoma City Thunder:

  • PG - Russell Westbrook
  • SG - Victor Oladipo
  • SF - Andre Roberson
  • PF - Domantas Sabonis
  • C - Steven Adams
  • Injuries - Victor Oladipo (Wrist, Day-to-Day), Cameron Payne (Foot, Out Indefinitely)

Phoenix Suns

Saturday, 17 December 2016 at 05:00 PM ET Home

Finally, the Oklahoma City Thunder wrap up their week at home against the Phoenix Suns (7-16 Overall, 4-10 Away). The Thunder have already played Phoenix once this season and walked away victorious 114-110 in an overtime thriller. Russell Westbrook led the way for Oklahoma City with 51 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

Look for Westbrook to have another massive game for the Thunder as he looks to have another triple-double and continue his season averages of a triple double. Westbrook will be vital today as well as he looks to contain Eric Bledsoe, who can just as easily rack up stats just like Westbrook. Another big match up will be between rookie big men Domantas Sabonis and Marquese Chriss.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Phoenix Suns:

  • PG - Eric Bledsoe
  • SG - Devin Booker
  • SF - P.J. Tucker
  • PF - Marquese Chriss
  • C - Tyson Chandler
  • Injuries  - T.J. Warren (Head, Day-to-Day)

Oklahoma City Thunder:

  • PG - Russell Westbrook
  • SG - Victor Oladipo
  • SF - Andre Roberson
  • PF - Domantas Sabonis
  • C - Steven Adams
  • Injuries - Victor Oladipo (Wrist, Day-to-Day), Cameron Payne (Foot, Out Indefinitely)
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