USA TODAY Sports
The Oklahoma City Thunder are holding on to third place in the Western Conference but are laboring as mid-March arrives. Oklahoma City has dropped eight of its last 12 contests as it enters Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, who reside in sixth place in the West.
The Thunder were beaten 93-85 by the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook admitted concern is now permeating the roster. “Should be,” Westbrook told reporters. “We’ve got to find a way to get wins – 4-8 is unacceptable for our team. We’ve just got to find a way to get it together.” Portland was having its own troubles with four losses in five games before trouncing the Orlando Magic 121-84 on Saturday. The Trail Blazers open a tough four-game road trip with visits to Oklahoma City and San Antonio and conclude it against Dallas on Sunday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN Northwest (Portland), FSN Oklahoma
LINE HISTORY: The Thunder opened as 8-point home favorites and have been bet down to -7.5. The total remains at its opening number of 221. Check out the complete line history here.
Trail Blazers – No injuries to report.
Thunder – SG D. Waiters (questionable Monday, personal).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Trail Blazers (-3.5) – Thunder (-9.7) + home court (-3) = Thunder -7
DANCE TEAM WAR:
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (35-32, 38-29 ATS, 37-30 O/U): The beat down of Orlando supplanted a 32-point win over Golden State as Portland’s largest margin of victory this season. “The offense had a lot of rhythm to it,” coach Terry Stotts said afterward. “The ball was moving. Guys were making shots. It’s fun when you’re playing like that.” The Trail Blazers shot a season-best 56 percent from the field to go with a season-high 34 assists and received 60 points from their reserves.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (44-22, 27-38-1 ATS, 29-37 O/U): Oklahoma City has experienced a plethora of shaky fourth quarters during the 12-game slump and that was again the case against San Antonio, when a two-point lead turned into an eight-point loss. The defeat marked the NBA-high 12th time the Thunder have lost when entering the final quarter with a lead and Westbrook has been the main culprit while going just 10-of-39 from the field – missing all 11 3-pointers – in the fourth quarter and overtimes of the last eight games. “We have to start making better decisions, starting with myself,” said Westbrook, who committed nine turnovers in the contest. “Find ways to get guys the ball and make a better decision. I don’t want to put us in a position that creates problems from us turning the ball over.”
* Trail Blazers are 4-1 ATS in their last five versus Northwest Division opponents.
* Thunder are 1-6 ATS in their last seven versus Northwest Division opponents.
* Over is 6-0 in Trail Blazers last six versus Western Conference opponents.
* Under is 5-1 in Thunder last six overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Bettors are almost split down the middle for this division showdown, with 52 percent of wagers giving the Trail Blazers the slight edge. As for the total, 56 percent of wagers are on the over.