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Simons-Less Blazers Fall to Thunder 92-87

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Gary Trent Jr. recorded 22 points in a losing effort against the Thunder in the Trail Blazers’ fourth Las Vegas Summer League outing.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 7 - Portland Trailblazers v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Trail Blazers’ comeback fell short as they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 92-87 in their second-to-last game of Las Vegas Summer League. Gary Trent Jr., Demetrius Jackson, Nassir Little, Devin Robinson and Jarnell Stokes were featured in Portland’s re-tooled starting lineup. Anfernee Simons sat to rest the ankle he twisted against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, and Nassir Little left the game early with a left shoulder contusion.

Box Score

After cutting the Thunder lead to one with 28 seconds remaining, the Blazers needed just one more stop. Trent crowded Hamidou Diallo, who appeared to get away with an offensive foul as he extended his forearm and shoved Trent to the ground. The numbers advantage led to an easy Thunder tip-in bucket to extend the lead to three points. With five seconds left and the chance to tie the game with a three-pointer, the Blazers threw away the inbound pass along with their chances of snatching an improbable win.

Turning Points

Little received the starting nod—setting the stage for the rookie to showcase why he was considered a steal at No. 26. Unfortunately for everyone in attendance, he left the game after four minutes. After taking a hit to his left shoulder, the former North Carolina standout never returned to the floor.

With Simons out, most the offense ran through Trent. He called his own number early and often, shooting off the catch and dribble whenever the Thunder gave him breathing room. He started hot, but then his stroke deserted him for the final three periods. He kept shooting with confidence through a cold spell that included a head-shaking airball in the second half. He snapped out of his slump a bit in the last five minutes with a couple midrange baskets and a nifty layup, but he never found his range from beyond the arc. He finished 2-14 from three, and 8-24 from the field.

Jarnell Stokes delivered an efficient 16 points on 8-8 shooting to go along with seven rebounds. He finished a tough and-one finish in the last minute to keep the Portland’s hopes alive.

Jaylen Hoard came off the bench and provided energy, scoring nine points. He attacked the rim and crashed the glass hard, which led to eight free throw attempts and two offensive rebounds.

Other Notes:

  • Midway through the second quarter, Terry Stotts joined the announcers, Isiah Thomas and Vince Goodwill. They discussed the Blazers future and laughed about Damian Lillard’s game winner against the Thunder. Midway through the interview, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced that the Thunder had traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. Stotts wouldn’t comment on the players involved, but viewers did get to see his immediate reaction. The camera crew kept panning over to Thunder coach Billy Donovan, who tried to remain focused on OKC’s summer league squad amid the fallout.
  • Hassan Whiteside showed up to support the team, looking resplendent in Blazers red.

Some Blazers fan sitting behind Whiteside showed him their appreciation by shouting references to the big man’s newly-adopted mantra.

Eliminated from the winner’s bracket, the Blazers will compete in one more game before returning to Portland.