The Thunder snapped a two game losing streak in Orlando on Friday and now set out to build some positive momentum by hosting the Trailblazers tonight.
Dominating at the Line
Oklahoma City beat Orlando in a game that was far closer than it should have been (the lead was a mere four points heading into the fourth quarter). While the Thunder posted better stats across the board than the Magic, they were only slightly better in almost every statistical category save for one – free throw shooting. Oklahoma City had a free throw-to-field goal attempt percentage of .300 to .087 for Orlando. The Thunder got 24 points at the charity stripe, while the Magic managed a scant eight.
Now the Magic are terrible at getting to the line, but this was a bad night even by their standards as the Thunder refused to send them there. That could be bad news for Portland, which ranks 22nd in the NBA with a FT/FGA ratio of .196. However, despite not matching up well against an Oklahoma City team that ranks best in the league with a FT/FGA mark of .288, the Trailblazers were only outscored 40-34 at the line in their first two games against the Thunder. That enabled them to keep things close in their most recent loss to the Thunder.
Offensive Rebounding Struggles
If there is a consistent way to compete with Oklahoma City it is on the offensive glass. That being said, the Blazers probably do not want to bet the house on that strategy. They did post higher offensive rebounding percentages against the Thunder in both earlier matchups but lost both of those games. J.J. Hickson ranks fifth in the NBA with an ORB percentage of 13.6 percent, but save for his efforts, Portland is subpar in this category sitting 17th as a team with an ORB percentage of 26.2 percent.
The Thunder are in a fight for playoff seeding and need to take care of business in the next four games to get all the momentum they can before an April 4 matchup with the Spurs.