After a series of heartbreaking losses on the road, everything rolled the right way at home in the Blazers’ 114-95 win over the Thunder.
The Blazers were led by Mason Plumlee with 18 points and 7 rebounds. Damian Lillard had 17 points and 9 assists. CJ McCollum and Moe Harkless added 15 points each. The Thunder were lead by Russell Westbrook with 20 points.
While all eyes were on triple-double threat Russell Westbrook tonight, it was Domantas Sabonis and medieval movie extra Steven Adams getting the best of the Blazers early, building an inauspicious 20-11 lead before Meyers Leonard came off the bench to give the Blazers a bit of an offensive spark. With the Blazers trailing 29-21, a couple of sloppy Thunder possessions led to four straight Blazer points and a boost of confidence. Allen Crabbe, who had just hit a prior three, gave the Blazers the lead late on a breakaway lay-in. Portland finished the quarter on a 11-2 run. Fouls were the unfortunate Achilles’ heel for Porltand, racking up 9 in the quarter for 8 uncontested Thunder points. Noeh Vonleh, who got the start tonight, racked up three of those fouls early and had to sit most of the period.
End of First: Portland 31, Oklahoma City 30
Crabbe started the quarter as he ended the first: hot, hitting five quick points to begin the period. With Westbrook resting and no other Thunder able to find the bottom of the net, the Blazers continued their run to a 20-5 outburst and were on cruise control offensively. As if last night’s against the LA Clippers wasn’t heated enough, Damian Lillard and Westbrook got in a minor scuffle with the Blazers leading 53-44. Portland put together a string of nice defenisve stands, finally denying the Thunder easy baskets inside and without the blow of a whistle. With the defense looking solid, the Blazers ended the quarter on a series of energetic hustle plays in the final minute that led to a basket by Damian Lillard to give the Blazers a 16-point lead entering halftime. Portland, looking for thier first win on the second of a back-to-back, took a spirited lead into second half. Lillard led the Blazers with 14 points. Westbrook had 15 for the Thunder. The Blazers shot 62% to the Thunder’s 34%. Portland’s bench outscored OKC’s 27-13. All good things.
Halftime: Portland 68, Oklahoma City 52
With the lessons of Indiana having hopefull been well learned, the Blazers continued to push the tempo against the Thunder while swarming the interior on defense. The Blazers pushed the lead to as high as 25 and everything seemed to be falling in Portland’s favor tonight. CJ McCollum, after a slow first half, finally came to life in the third. Mason Plumlee exploited Enes Kanter’s porous defense to take over lead scoring duties from Lillard and despite Westbrook’s occasional bursts of buckets, the Thunder were mostly futile on offense. The Blazers were now one quarter away from snappping a 4-game losing streak.
End of Third: Portland 92, Oklahoma City 71
The Blazers showed continued signs that their offense is starting to click on a higher level with crisp passing that swung from one side of the court to the other. Evan Turner’s three vaulted the lead to 26 and ‘all of a sudden’ the past week was looking like a distant memory. Once Westbrook went out for good, the Thunder put up little resistance and the Blazers get a must win before heading out on the road again. All that was left was the celebration.
The Blazers are back on the road for a three-game trip starting with the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. Tip off is at 6pm. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Willy Raedy.