With the series shifting back to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday, the Thunder find themselves with their backs against the wall for the third straight year in the first round, trailing the series two games to none against the third-seeded Blazers. The Thunder looked great in the first half with a 10 point lead midway through the second, but a quick run by Portland ending with a three at the buzzer by McCollum tied it 54-54 at halftime, with all momentum to Portland on the way to a 20 point blowout. The good news? PG looked himself and Adams was dominant. Heading into game three, here’s how OKC can secure a win.

Implement Adams Past the First Quarter

Steven Adams finished with 16 points and nine boards going 7-of-8 from the field. He was great in the first quarter, just like game one, but it seems as if OKC forgets him down the stretch. He barely touched the ball in the second half. The Thunder must continue to go into Adams the entire game because Portland has nobody to stop him.

Shoot Better

I wrote this same thing after game one. I said the Thunder wouldn’t shoot as bad as they did (15%, 5-of-33 from deep). They pretty much did the exact same thing, shooting 5-of-28 from deep, the second worst offensive night of the year. Yes, after 84 games, the two worst shooting nights of the entire season were these first two playoff games. That is the worst start from deep in NBA postseason history.

Grant and T-Ferg

They have both basically been nonexistent on both ends. Ferg cant stop CJ and Mo Harkless is having field days on the offensive glass. Grant and Ferg are a combined 2-of-15 from three; not ideal for who I consider being our x-factors. They have to step up to the level that they were playing at near the end of the season if OKC has any chance to come back.

Steals

OKC averaged 9.0 steals per game in the regular season. Knowing they aren’t a great shooting team, the steals lead to transition, where the Thunder are most lethal. Only seven steals in Game 2 led to Portland outscoring OKC on the fast break (6-of-6 for 19 points in transition), a place where the Thunder should dominate. If the shooting woes continue, they must be able to make it up on the break as they did in the regular season.

Westbrook

I’m a little worried about his left hand, as he repeatedly banged it and kept clinching it but he seems to be okay. I’m not worried about his play however; he took full responsibility and knows what to do when facing a do or die game (see game 5 and 6 last season).

 

The Thunder are shooting horrible, but the fact is that they are shooting unsustainably horrible. I fully expect them to come back to earth for home court with a more comfortable scenario at the Peake. Another positive for Thunder fans: I’ve been to 3 OKC games in my life and the Thunder are 3-0. Hopefully, we can continue the streak as I’ll be cheering us on at Game 3.

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Matt Bohamed