Thunder-Blazers open thread

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City at Portland is a big game for the Clippers. If the Blazers lose, they'll be a single game ahead of the LAC in the standings.

The top team in the Western Conference visits the third place team, who also happens to be the Clippers' opponent tomorrow night. Obviously, one is going to win an one is going to lose. At this point, it's probably preferable that the Thunder beat the Blazers, as the Clippers are within striking distance of third and even second, but the Thunder would have to go into a major slide in order to be overtaken.

LaMarcus Aldridge is beaten up and worn down, and the Oregonian is reporting that he could take the night off. Given that there is no specific injury to Aldridge, it would be almost Popovichian to rest him tonight -- write off the Thunder game and save Aldridge for the Clippers. The other side of that coin is that playing at home, tonight's game would seem to be more winnable, especially given that it's a back-to-back on the road tomorrow. As of now, I don't know whether Aldridge will play or not, but it's something to keep an eye on.

If OKC does get the road win, the the Clippers could essentially catch the Blazers with a win tomorrow night. Heading into the All Star break, Portland would be just percentage points ahead of the Clippers for third in the West if the Blazers lose tonight and again tomorrow night in L.A. Chickens-eggs yada yada yada. But it could happen.

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