A wild Thursday night in Portland ended with a deflating 129-121 overtime loss to Oklahoma City (Box Score). After multiple altercations, Jusuf Nurkic was ejected, but not before being elbowed in the head. Damian Lillard scored 51, but it felt like a late-game afterthought. Let’s recap a few details until Nate has the full analysis ready in probably about 5 hours.
- Possible playoff preview. With both teams jockeying for position, they fought back and forth through constant lead changes all night. Every time a team got a lead of more than 6, the other team roared back. OKC made the final run in overtime, and that decided the game.
- 2-on-1 Cage Match: Russell Westbrook and Paul George vs. Nurkic. Nurkic got into it with both of OKC’s superstars tonight. Settle in. First, Nurkic was called for a technical foul for tripping Westbrook, who immediately responded by body-blocking Nurkic at halfcourt. Westbrook picked up a flagrant foul. Later, Paul George was driving to the rim, and flailed his arms, nailing Nurkic in the jaw with an elbow. The refs did not see the elbow, and OKC scored while Nurkic lay on the ground. Nurkic seemingly lost his cool. Shortly after, in the final seconds, Nurkic may have first committed offensive basket interference (which was missed), but after the play he leaned in and bumped heads with George. That was cause for an immediate technical and ejection.
- The battle of the Dynamic Duos. It was all about the shooters tonight. Westbrook finished with 37 on 28 shots, George with 32 on 23 shots, Lillard with the aforementioned 51 on 28 shots, and McCollum scored 25 on 24 shots.
The resurgent Suns are in Portland Saturday night.