Kevin Durant, left, and the Thunder will put their five-game winning streak on the line tonight at Portland. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN
The Thunder also can even the season series at one game, with two left to play to decide a potential tiebreaker for a playoff seed.
This season’s results suggest the Thunder could fare well against the Blazers.
Oklahoma City had convincing wins against Denver without Carmelo Anthony on Jan. 29 and at New Orleans without Chris Paul last Wednesday, although the Hornets made a late rally. The Thunder also has notched two wins against Detroit without Richard Hamilton, took down Orlando without Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis, beat Milwaukee without Andrew Bogut, Golden State without Andris Biedrins and Minnesota without Kevin Love.
Perhaps a better indication of the Thunder’s performance is the margin of defeat in its four losses against incomplete teams. Excluding Houston’s Yao Ming, who has been out all season, the Thunder has lost four games to the Lakers, Sacramento, San Antonio and Cleveland by a combined eight points.
If the winning trend continues tonight against the Blazers, it will be Kevin Durant’s and Jeff Green’s first time winning inside the Rose Garden.