Oklahoma City Thunder at Chicago Bulls (+2, 191.5)
James Harden is lighting it up in Houston and Derrick Rose is on the sidelines, but Thursday game between Oklahoma City and Chicago is still an intriguing matchup. Both teams are learning how to win without a key player, although the adjustment hasn't been as smooth for the Thunder. Oklahoma City, which dealt Harden to the Rockets shortly before the season began, evened its record with a 108-88 victory over Toronto on Tuesday in the finale of a three-game homestand.
The Bulls will likely will be without Rose until after the All-Star break. Chicago handed Orlando its first loss of the season with a 99-93 win on Tuesday. The former league Most Valuable Player is recovering from a torn ACL sustained in Chicago's first-round playoff loss to Philadelphia. TV:
8 p.m. ET, TNT.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (2-2):
Kevin Martin, the key figure Oklahoma City received in the blockbuster trade, has replaced Harden as the sixth man. The veteran guard has provided a solid offensive punch, averaging 19.3 points and shooting 51.2 from the field. Martin has hit 61.9 percent of his 3-point attempts. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are averaging 20.8 points apiece, but the offense has struggled in the first four games. Oklahoma City is averaging 98.3 points after scoring 103.1 points last season.
ABOUT THE BULLS (3-1):
Other than an unexpected loss to New Orleans in the home opener, Chicago has played well without its star. Coach Tom Thibodeau always stresses defense and that's paid off early in the season. The Bulls allow 88.8 points and force 16.7 turnovers game. Kirk Hinrich has taken over at point guard for Rose, but backup Nate Robinson has provided the biggest boost. Robinson is averaging 12.3 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 51.2 percent.TRENDS:
* Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings.
* Thunder are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings in Chicago.
* Thunder are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 Thursday games.
* Bulls are 1-6 ATS in their last seven vs. Western Conference.BUZZER BEATERS:
1. Westbrook, who has been playing with a sore shoulder, is shooting 38.7 percent from the field and has made just 26.7 percent of his 3-point attempts.
2. The Bulls have six players averaging at least 9.0 points a game. Joakim Noah leads the team in points (16.0) and rebounds (8.8).
3. The Thunder beat the Bulls 92-78 at home in their only meeting last season. Oklahoma City led by 29 points going into the fourth quarter. The teams split six games over the previous three seasons. Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (+1, 201.5)
The Los Angeles Clippers travel to Portland to face the well-rested Trail Blazers on Thursday. The Clippers dominated San Antonio for a 106-84 home win on Wednesday. Blake Griffin (22 points, 10 rebounds), DeAndre Jordan (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Chris Paul (10 points, 12 assists) all had double-doubles as the Clippers handed the Spurs their first loss of the season. The lopsided win allowed coach Vinny Del Negro to rest his key players.
Portland hasn't played since Monday when it dropped a 114-91 decision at Dallas. Rookie guard Damian Lillard has been one of the early season surprises in the league. Lillard, the No. 6 overall pick in the draft from Weber State, is second on the team in scoring with a 19.3 average. LaMarcus Aldridge is scoring 22 points a game to lead the Trail Blazers. TV:
10:30 p.m. ET, TNT.ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (2-2):
Portland has been outscored in the fourth quarter of each game so the Trail Blazers are fortunate to be .500. The least productive bench in the NBA has a lot to do with the problems. Portland's reserves have combined to score 51 points in four games. Rookie center Meyers Leonard, who has scored 14 points, and small forward Sasha Pavlovic, who has 10, are the only bench players to reach double figures for the season. Portland was outscored 31-12 in the fourth quarter of Monday's loss.ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (3-2):
Injuries have played a major role in the early going for Los Angeles. Griffin, the Clippers' All-Star forward, has been playing with a ruptured bursa sac in his right elbow and a strained neck. He's averaging 17.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. Veterans Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill have yet to play. Billups is still recovering from Achilles' tendon surgery last season while Hill has a bone bruise in his right knee. Jamal Crawford, who went into Wednesday averaging 24 points a game, was held to 10 against San Antonio. TRENDS:
* Over is 8-1-2 in the last 11 meetings in Portland.
* Favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Home team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
* Clippers are 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Clippers are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in Portland.BUZZER BEATERS:
1. The Clippers won three of the four meetings last season.
2. Portland held a 23-2 advantage in offensive rebounds against Dallas, but lost the game by 23 points.
3. Los Angeles committed 15 turnovers Wednesday after turning the ball over 25 times in Monday's loss to Cleveland.