OKC Thunder will launch their youth movement vs Portland

The Oklahoma City Thunder are heading into game 4 of their 5 game road trip with a stop in Portland for tonight’s game against the Trailblazers. The Thunder will not only be without Al Horford, Ty Jerome, and Josh Hall all previously were out on this road trip, but add George Hill into the mix who had the best game of his OKC Thunder career on Sunday will miss tonight’s game with a Thumb sprain.

With George Hill, the team will take this “day-to-day” though, aren’t we all day-to-day in this thing we call life? Hill was evaluated and tried to give it a go tonight, but needs to feel more comfortable gripping the basketball before he returns.

This signals the Thunder’s shift into a youth movement, at least for this game, as they will be without their two key veterans.

Mark Daigneault announced the Starting Lineups and will roll out Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Theo Maledon, Darius Bazley, and Isaiah Roby.

Starting rookie Theo Maledon in a three-guard lineup will be nothing short of fun. This is what the season is all about, finding more minutes for possible long-term pieces of this franchise’s core. Mark Daigneault says they decided to start him to get a longer look at Theo and SGA playing together. The oldest player in the starting 5 is 22 years old (Roby and SGA are both 22) and the youngest is Maledon at 19 years of age. Watching Lu Dort match up on Damian Lillard, Theo Maledon get to direct some offense, and SGA exploiting the Blazers defense should have a lot of fans happy with their decision to stay up for this game.

Before this contest, Damian Lillard announced a new shoe in Oklahoma City colors to commemorate his awesome first round buzzer-beater that sent the Thunder to a much better place with a way better future outlook. That was really kind of him to remind OKC just how lucky we really are.

After all, since that First round buzzer-beater, the Thunder have accumulated more first-round picks than anyone knows what to do with, a rising star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, added a diamond in the rough cornerstone in Lu Dort, drafted Darius Bazley, finished with a better record than Portland a year ago despite the claims that last year’s Thunder squad was tanking and the Blazer core is aging and literally breaking down right before our eyes. However, they will always have a couple of Dame Dollar first-round buzzer-beaters. While the Thunder since moving to OKC has been to more Western Conference Finals and actually won a Western Conference, unlike Dame’s Blazers.

Portland will be without All-Star CJ Mccollum, Zach Collins, Robert Covington, and Jusuf Nurkic. Both teams are playing on the second night of a back-to-back with the Thunder stumbling in after their third straight loss and the Blazers looking to stay on track after a narrow win over the Knicks.

For Locked on Thunder listeners the bet of the game is Portland -5.

Rylan Stiles

Rylan Stiles is the host of the Locked on Thunder podcast, a media member with the Thunder and the NBA, and Founder of BricktownBuckets.com.

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