The Thunder notched their first series win on Friday with a 120-108 victory over the Trail Blazers in Game 3. After two defeats in Portland, Oklahoma City re-tooled its defense approach prior to returning to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday. The Thunder’s new focus: put more pressure on Damian Lillard.
After the game, NBC Sports Northwest’s Jamie Hudson captured Lillard’s reaction to OKC’s new commitment to stifling defense.
“They got a little more aggressive on the ball. Instead of the big just trying to stay in front of me they were coming up a little higher. I noticed [Jerami] Grant in [the pick-and-roll defense], somebody that’s more agile, athletic, so maybe they could try to trap or be more aggressive. I thought I was still able to turn the corner. I think they just wanted me to get rid of the ball,” Lillard said.
Regardless of the Thunder’s increased pressure, Lillard still managed to reach the 30-point threshold for the second time in his last three games. While his point total wasn’t drastically impacted, Lillard tied with Moe Harkless for a team-high four turnovers.
Lillard and the Blazers will get another opportunity to test the Thunder’s defense on Sunday in Game 4.