PORTLAND, Oregon – Oklahoma City lost another game to Portland Friday night, in one that began to slip away in the second quarter.
The Thunder (37-28) fell in a 108-100 game that felt close at times, but also didn’t. With Carmelo Anthony sitting out for rest, Patrick Patterson stepped his game up, scoring 12 points.
Russell Westbrook (30/6/11) opened up the game on fire, scoring or assisting on eight of the first 12 Thunder points. Oklahoma City went into the second quarter with a 28-25 lead over the Trail Blazers (37-26).
The second quarter is where troubles started, as the Thunder sunk seven baskets in the 12-minute period.
With just under four minutes left in the second quarter, Jusuf Nurkic shoved Steven Adams. Following the shove, Westbrook and the rest of the team got into it with Portland. After reviewing the play, Westbrook would be charged with a technical foul.
While Oklahoma City struggled, Portland thrived. Bringing up its score to 53 points, leading Oklahoma City by three going into the half.
The second half was much of the same for the Thunder, as it continued to struggle to find its stride from downtown. Paul George, who finished 0-7 from three, simply could not find his shot. Russell finished the third shooting under 30 percent and the team as a whole was losing the rebounding battle by eight.
After three, the Thunder were down 83-75. The game was in dire need of a takeover from someone in blue.
Westbrook, as usual, took that role. Making five of his eight fourth quarter shots, the game was within four points with less than three minutes left. However, the Thunder couldn’t land a shot. Even with stellar defense from multiple players in the final minute, OKC did not score for the last 1:30 seconds, until a Westbrook dunk with 4.7 seconds left.
Oklahoma City falls to the seventh seed in the Western Conference, with a surging Houston Rocket team coming to Bricktown next. Two of its next three games come against teams ahead of it in the standings.
Tipoff against Houston is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. March 6.
Recapping The Keys
Three Points – C+
The Thunder allowed the Trail Blazers to shoot 11-33 from beyond the arc. That isn’t bad, as we indicated the Thunder need to hold them under 40 percent. However, it was the timing of the threes allowed which killed Oklahoma City. Big scoring runs were often killed by a Portland three or fouls.
Rebounding – C +
Another above average rating for the Thunder here. Oklahoma City lost the battle 47-40, moving the team to 10-18 when being out rebounded. Only one man for Oklahoma City (Westbrook, 11) had more than seven rebounds.
Turnovers – B
Seemingly one of the few bright spots and only wins for Oklahoma City was in this statistical category. The Thunder turned the ball over 12 times, four less than their average since the All-Star break (16 pg). Portland gave it away 15 times. Ultimately, Oklahoma City played a game in which it had opportunities to win. However, not finding a stride on offense for long periods of time hurt it. Not turnovers.
We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!