Time: 5:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Season Series: 2-2
Main Story Line: This is the Thunder’s third and final scrimmage before the regular season resumes on Saturday against the Utah Jazz. OKC is 2-0 in scrimmage play thus far.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Where Is Everybody?: Chris Paul, Nerlens Noel, and Terrance Fergusion will sit this one out for OKC. Portland’s superstar back court of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will also be inactive. Scrimmages, am I right?
Billy’s Starting Five: With CP3 out of the lineup, Andre Roberson will enter the regular starting five alongside SGA, Lu Dort, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams. According to Erik Horne of The Athletic, “Donovan wanted to give Roberson an opportunity to play against some starters.”
Dre Day Part 3: Roberson knocked down two three-pointers in the final minute to cap OKC’s 24-point comeback scrimmage win over Philly — sending the Thunder fan base into an absolute frenzy with his spirited return to action after more than 2.5 years away. He logged 12 minutes in his Friday debut, 15 minutes on Sunday, and will likely see another healthy allotment of run as a starter in today’s scrimmage versus Portland. I’m afraid to say much else because I refuse to be the one who jinxes whatever is going on with Dre right now.
The Big Men: Steven Adams has been a revelation in the bubble, appearing healthier than we’ve ever seen him with eight games remaining in the regular season. Portland’s front court knows a thing or two about the restorative properties of the extended layoff — Jusuf Nurkic is starting at power forward after returning from a compound leg fracture and dropped 17-12-5 in Sunday’s scrimmage versus Toronto. Hassan Whiteside will draw the start at center, with Zach Collins also back from a separated shoulder to fill backup minutes at both positions.
Other Things: This game features many other things I’d mention if it counted. Those things, in no particular order, are: SGA’s showdown with Skinny Melo, predicting at least two more no-hesitation threes from Dort, a rambling monologue about how Darius Bazley will open some eyes today, an earnest plea for Dennis Schroder and Danilo Gallinari to make shots, and open curiosity about whether or not Mike Muscala is Billy Donovan’s secret X-Factor off the bench. Alas, the game doesn’t count so I won’t get into any of that.
Thunder Game Day Report: