Preview: Thunder vs Blazers 7pm on CSN

Preview: Thunder vs Blazers 7pm on CSN
April 12, 2013, 8:45 am
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Update: LaMarcus Aldridge (ill) and JJ Hickson (back) will play tonight versus the Thunder. Wesley Matthews (ankle) and Nicolas Batum (shoulder) will not. Matthews and Batum will travel on the upcoming two-game road trip.

Batum says he will miss the next two games and is scheduled to meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles to get a better gauge on his condition and what is needed. When asked if he thinks he'll suit up again this season, Batum responded by saying, "I don't know. With the meeting I had this morning (with his Portland doctor), we didn't talk about surgery, we talked about getting rest and taking care of it.”

Terry Stotts says he doesn't know if Matthews will return this season or not.

Game Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers are set to host an Oklahoma City Thunder team that has something to play for – clinching the top spot in the Western Conference standings in order to get homecourt advantage in the playoffs.

Friday's matchup between these two rivals is their final meeting of the season with the Thunder having an opportunity to sweep the season series after winning the previous three games.

But Portland (33-45) does play Oklahoma City (58-21) tough at home as five of the last six games at the Rose Garden have been decided by single digits.

As long as we continue to get better every night, that's all we can ask for,” Damian Lillard said. “We're trying to win every game but I think that it's important that we compete every game and get better. I think we're doing that.”

Thursday night, the Golden State Warriors gave little resistance in softening up the Thunder for the Trail Blazers tonight.

Oklahoma City routed Golden State 116-97. Kevin Durant (scored 31 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out eight assists) only played 34 minutes and Russell Westbrook (put in 18 points and nine assists) tallied 30 minutes.

Those two will be fresh tonight.

That's not good news for the Trail Blazers who are currently on a season-high nine-game losing streak with no sign of a victory coming in the near future due to key players being banged up.

In Wednesday night's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts started Damian Lillard, Will Barton, Victor Claver, LaMarcus Aldridge and Meyers Leonard. That is four rookies.

Oklahoma could very well see that starting five tonight. Stotts said after yesterday's practice that Wesley Matthews (ankle) will be out and Nicolas Batum (shoulder), JJ Hickson (back) and LaMarcus Aldridge (under the weather) will be reevaluated this morning.

A player availability update from shootaround this morning will be included in this post roughly around 11:20.

Tonight's game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet and 1190 AM/102.3 FM KEX radio will have the call at 7:00.

Probable Starters:

Oklahoma City Thunder

F Kevin Durant

F Serge Ibaka

C Kendrick Perkins

G Thabo Sefolosha

G Russell Westbrook

Portland Trail Blazers

F Victor Claver

F LaMarcus Aldridge

C Meyers Leonard

G Will Barton

G Damian Lillard