Must-Win #3: March 26 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
You’re probably sensing a theme at this point in the article, and that’s fair: all three of teams listed so far are against squads that are within a game or two of the Blazers. If it seems a bit obvious, it is; needing to beat Boston and other championship contenders isn’t a good path to follow.
That’s not to say a game against the Thunder will be easy. Since the all-star break, Oklahoma City has the 10th-best offense in the league. That’s even with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missing a number of games due to injury; Josh Giddey and rookie Jalen Williams have both stepped up to right the ship.
The Thunder have had the Blazers’ number this season, beating them three times already – although all of the games have been single-digit affairs. SGA hit a game-winner in a December clash and if he’s unable to play, that could be the difference between a win and a loss for Portland.
Besides, it’s extremely difficult for a team to win four straight games against another opponent in the NBA. That’s what makes sweeps in the playoffs so dominating and should give the Blazers more hope that this time, especially at home and potentially without the Thunder having SGA, they can get a key win against a team above them in the standings.