The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (19 points, 6 assists) and Nicolas Batum (13 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds). JJ Hickson (12 points, 7 rebounds) had a solid night, but LaMarcus Aldridge (10 points on 3-14 shooting, 12 rebounds) struggled to find his shot against OKC's defense.
First Quarter: Well, the Blazers started out with a very early lead, but then the shots stopped falling. And it didn't take long for OKC to take advantage, using their superior running and shooting to dominate the second half of the quarter with a 13 point run. But as the clock wound down, the classic Lillard step-back three swished, and the Blazers felt lucky to be within 5 as the horn sounded. Score: OKC 24, Portland 19.
Meyers holding his own against Thabeet.
Second Quarter: This was one of those "Every time you thought OKC would pull away, Portland did something to stay close" quarters. Down only 4 at the halfway point, Batum's nice pass to Hickson led to a dunk and a 2 point deficit. Eric Maynor followed it up with a jumper to complete an 11-2 run to tie the game. OKC tried to surge ahead, but again the Blazers stayed close, led by Batum's passing and shooting. As the clock quickly ran down, the Blazers sent the ball to Hickson, who launched a jumper at the horn. It banked in. He didn't call it, but we'll let it slide. Score: Portland 47, OKC 45.
I keep thinking "dang we are getting killed" and then look up and we are only down 4.
Third Quarter: A surprisingly tense game developed, as both OKC and Portland played to a standstill, neither team able to get an advantage. Portland tied it at 65, but that was where the good times ended. OKC's defense reappeared, right as Portland's shot mojo vanished. OKC scored 8 straight points, and only Eric Maynor's three-pointer slowed them down. They led by 7 after three. Score: OKC 75, Portland 68.
Tone told a story the other night about when he played for the Hawks, and one night, as usual, the arena was empty for the 1st half. Halfway through the 3rd, fans started trickling in until it was filled at the end of the game, which they won. People cheered, they did their post-game interviews and went into the locker room. While they were finishing up they heard huge cheering from the arena and it turned out that all those late arrivals in the second half of their game were actually just early arrivals for a concert taking place afterwards.
[I know it's not about this game, but I found it entertaining in the GDT]
Fourth Quarter: Lillard opened with 5 quick points to keep the Blazers within single digits. However, OKC kept pressing, and Portland struggled to get good shots. They started focusing on three's to stay in it, and Lillard and Maynor hit back to back to cut the deficit down to 6, forcing an OKC timeout. And coming out of the timeout, they refocused and shut the Blazers down. In short order, the OKC lead was double-digits again, and they didn't look back.
Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight. In the meantime, check out the upcoming Blazers schedule. -- Tim