The Portland Trail Blazers suffered their second consecutive loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, landing them at 17-15 on the season. Head Coach Chauncey Billups was disappointed with the outcome, but says a bad bounce here and there can make the difference, and the Trail Blazers have been on both sides of that situation.
It was a tough go, it was a tough go fourth quarter. It really hurt us – hurt our rotation – a little bit when Ant (Anfernee Simons) picked up that fifth foul. You know, you have to, obviously, sit him and you have to bring Dame (Damian Lillard) back a little earlier, you know, so. I thought we looked a little tired at the end, the last two or three minutes of the game, but we had the game right there, you know. We had it right there. I thought our execution wasn’t too bad. You know, we turned the ball over too much again. You know, turnovers come back and bite us but, you know, you got a lead with two minutes left in the game, two-and-a-half minutes, you should feel good about it.
What did you think about the shot that Dame got in the fourth quarter – his last shot that he got?
It was a tough shot. It was a tough shot. I thought he lost his balance on it and just had to heave something. It was just kind of too late, you know. He was committed to it at that point. So, it wasn’t a shot that I’m sure he loved, he liked, but I felt like he lost his footing on it.
Seems like a lot of similarities between this game and the last game (indiscernible)…
I don’t, I don’t agree with that. I think last game our defense wasn’t very physical. I thought we played very physical on the defensive end tonight. They didn’t get to the basket as much, you know, at least it didn’t feel like. We played very physical; we showed some resistance in the game. So, I do think this game and the game before was very different, from my perspective.
Free throws. SGA (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) shot more free throws than the Blazers did as a team—
In the first half.
In the first half and, I think, in total.
Yeah, in the first half he had more free throws than we had in the whole game. That really doesn’t happen with us. Nine free throws for the whole game. We attack all night, you know, we attack all night, but I guess we didn’t get fouled tonight.
Just in general, you’ve got one more game left on this trip, in Denver, obviously a very good team. What do you guys need to do to try and go in and get that win?
We just got to stay focused and committed to what we doing. We played them a couple weeks ago in a very, very tough game, a heartbreaking loss. Obviously, we still haven’t forgotten about that. We get a chance at them again, you know. Get the guys, get a little bit of rest and be ready to go on Friday.
Since you mentioned kind of the way that ended, it seems like that’s happened quite a bit lately. You have the games, obviously, versus the Thunder, the Clipper game as well. Is it just a situation where you win some of those close ones and sometimes you don’t, or is execution?
We’ve been on both sides of it. Been on both sides of it. Sometimes the ball bounces your way, sometimes it doesn’t, you know. We had one of the best shooters in the history of the game wide open, up one, Damian Lillard in his spot, he just missed the shot. His money all day. He makes that shot every day. So, it just happens. It just happens. A bad bounce here or there. It was a play that came off and the ball bounced like a hard bounce right through Nurk (Jusuf Nurkic) and Josh (Josh Hart), they get the ball. You know, so it’s just bad bounces. It just happens, but we’ve been on the flipside of that as well, where we get a bounce that goes our way, we end up winning a close game. So, it’s just ebbs and flows of the NBA season, man.
Next up: The Trail Blazers round out their road trip against the Denver Nuggets on Friday.