The Portland Trail Blazers got the 3rd seed in the Western Conference Playoffs and as their prize play the Oklahoma City Thunder in their seven game first round match up. The Thunder swept the series series after being swept during last year's season series. This is a tough match up for the Trail Blazers. They come in to the series without excellent center Jusuf Nurkic due to injury. Late season pick up Enes Kanter, a former thunder, has played really well in Nurkic's absence and it should be fun to watch him against Thunder center Stephen Adams. Still he isn't the player Nurkic is but is a more than capable replacement - good job grabbing him when they did. The Thunder for their part will be without key defender Andre Robertson.
The key to this series for me is defense and doing something to corral Thunder stars Paul George and Russell Westbrook. You can't even pretend you'll stop either of these guys but you have to get them off their game. I'm not sure how the Trail Blazers do it but the Thunder haven't been unstoppable this year. Everyone will have to play good defense every possession to have any shot. Portland has the offense as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum can light it up with the best of them but the role players will have to step up on both ends of the court. I'm looking at you Al-Farouq Aminu. This should be a great series. Hopefully Portland will prevail and I look forward to good games as the Trail Blazers look to scare away Playoff disappointment ghosts of years past.