The Portland Trail Blazers shot the lights out against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Fridaynight, but could not keep OKC from doing the same. The offensive slugfest ended in disappointment and bad defense, as Portland lost 129-138. This was the Trail Blazers’ third loss against the Thunder this season, with just one more matchup to go in March.
Trail Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups told reporters after the game that defense was their biggest problem. Specifically, stopping Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored a game-high 44 points.
It really went South. It was South the whole game, we just was making shots to keep it going. But, I mean, s---, we just couldn’t stop a nosebleed, man. It was really bad. But it started at the start, really, and they’re a tough team to guard, they really are. They play really fast, they drive, they lead the league in drives, they lead the league in creating closeouts, and so they put you in some tough spots but, man, we just couldn’t ever get a stop. We scored with them pretty good, which I’m always scared of, you know, when you just keep scoring and going back and forth. At some point – I said it at halftime – the first team that gets three or four stops is going to win the game. I said it at the end of the third quarter; we was still in the same spot. Two or three minutes in, we were still in the same – I said, ‘We still in the same spot.’ So, we just couldn’t. We tried it all. We changed up everything, we tried everything we could. We couldn’t stop Shai. And then their team just played well together.
Gilgeous-Alexander is now averaging more than 35 points per game against the Trail Blazers this season, having scored 35 and 27 in the teams’ two previous meetings.
With the loss, Portland (27-29) has been passed by Oklahoma City (27-28) in the Western Conference standings, and now sits back in the No. 12 spot.