Author - Chuck Chaney

Westbrook and George have successful surgeries

The Oklahoma City Thunder have announced Russell Westbrook and Paul George have undergone a couple of surgeries each.

Westbrook, the 2016-17 NBA Most Valuable Player underwent successful surgery to repair his fourth MCP ligament on his left hand. He also underwent an arthroscopic knee surgery as he has the last few seasons. He’s expected to be back in action in approximately three weeks.

For George, we’ve known his shoulder has been bothering him. He underwent successful elective surgery on his right shoulder. It repaired a partial thickness in his supraspinatus tendon tear. In another words, a tear in his rotator cuff. He will also repair a tear in his labrum in his left shoulder. He’s expected to be ready by the regular season.

These surgeries aren’t surprising. The extent of the injuries are though. Multiple tears for George and a torn ligament for Westbrook. We knew they were hurt but were unaware of how bad. It’s a testament for the personal sacrifice for both players to play through these injuries.

Westbrook continued to make NBA history this season, averaging a triple-double for the third consecutive year (22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists), making him the first player in NBA history to accomplish the feat. This season Westbrook led the league in assists for the second-straight season, making him the first player to ever lead the league in scoring twice (2015, 2017) and assists twice (2018, 2019).

George averaged career highs in points (28.0, 2nd in NBA), rebounds (8.2), assists (4.1) and steals (2.21, 1st in NBA). The only other player to average as many points, rebounds and steals in a season since steals became an official stat was Michael Jordan in 1988-89.

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Four Thoughts on Game 5 and the series

The Thunder lost their season on Tuesday night. They had the opportunity but they wasted it away with turnovers, missed free throws and a bunch of other nonsense that has plagued Oklahoma City all season. Here are a few thoughts on the game and the series.

Big fake tough guys

Oklahoma City has been known for being physical. It’s common knowledge throughout the NBA. However, their trash talking and all of their antics backfired in this series. You ran your mouth for a victory but the other team was cool, calm and collected for most of the series. Sure, Russell Westbrook may need to do that to get himself up. However, his emotional IQ was weak all series long. Oklahoma City needed their MVP to play like an MVP, instead he played like a fake tough guy. He’s usually a guy who can back up his talk but in a series where his play was more important, the Blazers let Westbrook and Co. get in their own heads.

Multiple times in the series Westbrook chose not to get back on defense. Multiple times in the series a careless turnover was made by a player. George’s missed free throws in the final two minutes was crucial but wouldn’t mattered as Dame hit a three. However, it’s just the fact the season came down to missed free throws.

Schröder’s wrist tapping but unable to provide consistent play throughout the series was tough. Sure, he played well in Games 3 & 5, but was wildly inconsistent the rest of the series. He didn’t even hit a three until Game 3 (was 0-of-8 before that).

Coaching issues

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was the better of the two in this series. It was capped off with riding the hot hand in Game 5. Lillard was on fire and Stotts rode him for 36 straight minutes. Sometimes deviating from the rotation is needed. Did the Thunder REALLY need to rest George in those final three minutes of the half? Your hottest player, you’re going to sit, even with three fouls? You have to trust that player to make the right play. Instead, you sit ‘em. There were weird time outs from Thunder head coach Billy Donovan all series. They killed momentum every single time. He had a timeout so abrupt in Game 5, everyone thought a technical foul had been called. I don’t know whether he was just trying something out and didn’t work, or was he just overmatched and he was overcorrecting?

One thing I can say is Donovan’s job is safe. You can want his job all you want but there currently is not a coach that’s available where you can say “yeah, this is going to improve the play.” Coaching in the NBA is a tough profession. There are obvious issues, I think with the except of 3-4 coaches in the NBA, you could say that about any coach’s philosophy.

Donovan had a bit of a raw deal this season. There were numerous major injuries. The Thunder were without Alex Abrines due to personal issues and unfortunately, some players, i.e., Patrick Patterson never developed into the role player the Thunder expected. While some of the offense is definitely falling on him, the lack of players falls on other members of the front office.

Steven Adams, what?

It’s weird. Adams had such an up and down season. It all came to a head in the series. There were a couple of games where you really saw him dominate the Blazers and as we would expect, but then other times he would post up Kanter, throw up a wild shot and leave you scratching your noggin.

A couple of things come to mind: 1) Is he hurt? I’m assuming he is. Everyone appears to be hurt (more on this later). 2) Bad philosophy Adams isn’t a post up guy and the Thunder set up him for failure. or 3) He just didn’t have it. It’s probably a combination of all three. Adams isn’t the best post up big man in the league. Kanter, while he struggles mightily in the P-n-R, is a formidable post up defender and we saw that against Adams. Adams always takes a beating, so I’m assuming there some sort of injury nagging him. He is a Kiwi tank and he’ll battle through it.

Also, I just think Adams is not fit for a match up with Portland. His second half of the season wasn’t stellar. Not many Thunder players can say theirs was either.

Injuries upon injuries

I would not be in the least bit surprised if the Thunder announced throughout the summer multiple players had surgery. Westbrook’s hand has been an issue all season. He’s also had multiple knee surgeries, so what’s one more? George’s shoulder is an obvious one. Other players probably have something but those are the two most obvious ones. Oklahoma City has been banged up and with a limited roster, the Thunder are probably going to get everyone under the knife and get healthy for next season.

What if

This one is just a sad one. No Andre Roberson. No Alex Abrines. This team never really was what it was supposed to be. While others stepped up in their place, the Thunder obviously missed key pieces for one reason or another. Oklahoma City dearly missed Dre’s defense and Abrines’ shooting. Oklahoma City would’ve been a different team with both of them. Playoff Dre was a real thing. Abrines is one of the best three-point shooters in Thunder history. So, Oklahoma City missing a few spokes to the wheel mattered.

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Dame time ends OKC’s season

In a game of runs, this run comes to an end for Oklahoma City.

The ending of the 2018-19 season came in a way that no one was surprised. Damian Lillard nailed a shot you knew was going in from the second he stepped back.

Oklahoma City lost 118-115 to lose the series 4-1. Sure, the Lillard shot will be what will go down in the history books. However, what will not be told is how the Thunder put the Blazers in that position.

Oklahoma City was outscored 13-2 down the stretch. Paul George missed two free throws and had his pocket picked in the final two minutes. Russell Westbrook was called for a questionable charge call and took an ill-advised shot with 15 seconds left at the rim. A shot any other time we wouldn’t question but with the game on the line and how the momentum had changed, we sit here pondering the alternatives.

Oklahoma City went up 105-90 with 7:45 left on Dennis Schroder’s pull up jumper. A 30-6 run at this point, it appeared the Thunder had thwarted a tough Lillard performance to push Oklahoma City into a Game 6. It had all the makings of the comeback against Utah the previous season.

“Very disappointing,” Westbrook said.

All-in-all, the Thunder did almost everything right on a night that felt weird. Oklahoma City shot a billion percent, estimating, in the first half. Lillard went bananas but the Thunder led for a majority of the game. It was just what Dame did to the Thunder is what we can think of.

“He made big shots,” George said. “Tip my hat to the shots he mad. But it was his night. He felt it. He knocked them down.”

It was the third time in the five games Oklahoma City held a double digit lead against Portland. It’s the first time Oklahoma City has lost in the playoffs scoring at least 115 points in franchise history.

George gave it all. For all of his postseason failures in his OKC tenure, the George showed up and showed out in Game 5. George scored 34 points on 14-of-20 shooting. He finished 5-of-8 from the free throw line.

It was the 12th straight road playoff loss for the Thunder, who have been eliminated in the opening round for three straight seasons. They have not won a road game since Game 1 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals.

Westbrook was a catalyst for the Thunder’s 30-6 run in the third and fourth quarters, but struggled offensively and turned it over a bunch.

The Thunder went up 22-12 early, and George made his first six shots from the floor. Oklahoma City held a 37-29 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Lillard led all players with 19 points. CJ McCollum got into foul trouble and headed for the bench.

The Thunder will go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how to get out of the first round. First, you’ll step up and address the disadvantages the roster has and then go forward. It’s becoming a make-or-break year for Sam Presti.

Keys to the Game

Be the better duo: C

Was Russ-George the better duo? It’s hard to say. I think this was negated by Dame and George’s really good games. CJ and Russ had their moments. You don’t want this to be in question. You had to win this battle, and going even doesn’t do that.

Attack Portland’s Bigs: F

Portland had 54 points in the paint. They had 19 second chance points. They had 13 offensive rebounds and did everything they wanted. Oklahoma City never really were able to get a place on the glass. That’s really a bad deal you giving up 13 points and 13 rebounds to Enes Kanter. Steven Adams finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Woof.

Do the little things: C

Oklahoma City did the little things on average. Which if we did the numbers outside of the final six minutes of the game, maybe the Thunder win this category but you don’t want to win the first 42 minutes. You’re trying to win the whole dang 48 minutes.

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Thunder Playoff Game Day #5: at Portland Trail Blazers

Portland leads the series 3-1

Sunday, April 21 :: 8:30 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4-point favorites. The over/under is 221.
Online StreamTNT | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Blazers: here

SETTING THE SEASON

The Oklahoma City Thunder sit with their season on the edge. A loss tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Thunder are sent back to Oklahoma City with a very disappointing end to their season.

“This team has no quit in it,” Paul George said. “I definitely think we’re built for this.”

The Thunder fell in Game 4 to Portland 111-98 when Damian Lillard got hot and the Thunder never could recover. Portland went on a 37-14 run that spanned two quarters, including an 11-0 run to end the first half. The Thunder cannot afford to not make shots when Portland is heating up. They were able to respond in Game 3 when Portland did the same thing.

“We didn’t close the second quarter very well,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said.

The Thunder’s attitude at times will have to be checked. Portland, giving credit where it’s due, left the trash talking to the Thunder. It worked. Portland remained focused and the Thunder, trying to get in the Portland heads, seemed more focused on beating the players, than trying to win the game.

If the Thunder can find a way to play their game and disrupt what Portland wants to do, I know very cliche and generic, they’ll find a way to get the win and send this back to Oklahoma City.

“You play one game at a time,” George Said. “You leave everything in one game.”

In the post-KD Era, Westbrook is averaging 46.0 points on 43 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent from three-point range.

George’s elimination games are a bit more rough. He only scored five points on 2-of-16 and 0-of-6 from three in the Game 6 loss to Utah last season. He did score 34 points in the Game 5 win against Utah. So, there is hope.

The Thunder and Blazers are set to tip-off at 9:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Oklahoma and TNT.

If there’s a team that can be down 3-1 and come back from it,” George said. “I think we’re the team to do it.”

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Chris Fisher and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).

SCOUTING THE ENEMY

  • The Portland Trail Blazers went 53-29 on the season, finishing third in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Trail Blazers went 8-2.
  • In their last game, Portland overcame a 28-point deficit, beating the Sacramento Kings 136-131 on April 11.
  • Oklahoma City swept Portland in the regular season 4-0.
  • All-time the Thunder are 120-116 against the Blazers.
  • Since relocating to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 22-22 against Portland.
  • The Thunder are 2-8 in their last 10 games at the Rose Garden.
  • Portland and the Thunder are tied 2-2 in playoff series wins. Haven’t met since 1991.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Jusuf Nurkic (leg) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Portland came on March 24, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 103-83 (20-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (35 points) vs. Portland occurred during a 107-72 loss on April 3, 2009.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Hamidou Diallo (elbow) is out.

Keys to the Game

Be the better duo

Oklahoma City needs Westbrook and George to step up in this game — and for the rest of the series, if the Thunder are going to have a chance at winning this game and series. If the Thunder lose but the two have 60 points combined, then you tip your hat and respect Portland’s game. If not, you question a lot of things and rightfully so.

Attack Portland’s bigs.

The Thunder only scored 22 points in the paint. TWENTY-TWO. That’s the third lowest in franchise history. Oklahoma City has to do a better of getting shots up at the rim. They were abysmal in Game 4 and just stopped doing it. Westbrook is his best when he’s blowing by defenders and getting to the rim. He has to do this in Game 5. This includes going at Enes Kanter when he’s on the floor. Kanter is a plus-9.8 when he’s on the court in this series. Meyers Leonard is a SERIES HIGH plus-14.6. This has to be stopped in Game 5.

Do the little things

Portland is continuously beating the Thunder in the little things that make Oklahoma City tick. They’re beating in Oklahoma City in rebounds, assists, forcing turnovers and blocking out. Oklahoma City has to make these things into a bigger gap in Game 5. If Portland can break even in this part of the series, it’s over for the Thunder.

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Thunder, Westbrook march towards crossroads

Your success as a player is measured in awards and rings. That’s it. The good you do off the court, for the most part, is non-existent once you step off the court for the last time. Most players are fully aware of this. It’s why they’re ring chasin’, money hungry athletes.

That’s no difference to Russell Westbrook.

The 30-year old is facing a tipping point his career. Facing a 3-1 deficit for the third straight season, Westbrook’s career, which has been draped in All-Star appearances, triple-doubles and an MVP, sits at a point where he’s falling off. Oklahoma City has won a combined four games since Kevin Durant left OKC and everyone, including Westbrook knows it.

How much of Oklahoma City’s playoff disappearance is his, how much falls on the coaching staff and front office remains to be seen at this point. However, the two are going hand-in-hand.

Westbrook’s pitiful shooting performance in the series is nothing new. We’ve seen it for three seasons. He’s 152-of-393 (38.75 percent) in 15 playoff games in the post-KD era. He’s 35-of-114 (30.7 percent) from three.

An offense built around a superstar who’s wildly inefficient when it matters puts blame directly where it’s due as well. Billy Donovan’s offense often reverts back to old habits of ISO offense and hero ball. Sam Presti’s inability to recruit quality NBA longball threats to put around Westbrook is also glaring.

Westbrook has adapted. In the PKDE, Westbrook has put his name in the hat as the best point guard in the NBA in terms of getting his teammates involved. He’s led the league in potential assists and real assists the last three seasons.

When the Thunder re-signed Westbrook back in August of 2016, it was a requirement. Sure, they could’ve let Westbrook walk on his one-year deal and reset. The Thunder knew that was really impossible and so did Westbrook. The two used the the Durant situations for their own good. Oklahoma City gave their fan base stability in the loss of one of the greatest players in NBA history. Re-signing Westbrook meant they had a foundation going forward and it put the minds at ease. They had a starting point for starting over. Westbrook got paid. He’s the second highest player in the NBA. While Westbrook is beloved, there are glaring issues that could be addressed at the time, but the Thunder knew what they were getting themselves into.

It paid off initially. Westbrook had a historic year. He kept Oklahoma City in the playoffs and a season of “let’s see what happens” turned into a memory of a lifetime.

Fast forward three years and an almost 31-year-old Westbrook is facing a career bad year, in terms of shooting splits. His three-point percentage is the seventh worst single season in NBA history. Westbrook has faced five knee procedures all on the right knee.

At what point does a player who’s game is predicated by his athleticism finds a way to adjust his game? His explosion to the rim seemed off at times this season. Is that due to a knee that probably never healed? Probably not. We’ve seen some massive dunks from Westbrook, just not as many in year’s past. Is it an adjustment to his game knowing he is not always going to have that explosiveness?

There’s little think Westbrook’s hand, which has been wrapped for most of the playoffs, could face some sort of procedure in the offseason.

There’s not much time left in this window, the one with Paul George and Westbrook. Put up or shut up.

When the time comes to make that decision, will it be too late for the Thunder?

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Trail Blazers Meltdown Game 3

  • If we can win this game, the series is effectively over. LET’S GO!!!!
  • Questions we need answers to.
  • Who would win in a game of horse.
    Westbrick or Meyers Leonard?
    Who is more emotional.
    Westbrick or Meyers Leonard.
  • All time, the Blazers have taken a 2-0 lead 14 times. They won all 14 series.
  • can’t see them having more 3s than us.
  • Blazers need to treat this game like it’s game 7.
  • Do the Warriors treat every game like Game 7?
  • who cares?
  • The uni colors are not important. Seeing Westbrick suffer and Adams falter,is what I want.
  • As long as we get to 4 wins before they do I’m good.
  • If we can take that initial hit by OkC and be closed at half we will likely win game tonight.
  • This game is gonna tell me a lot about our team.
  • OKC broke out the special butt ugly jerseys for tonight.
  • Were not ready. Cool.
  • Okc has to feel bad being down after how wee started
  • Hi. My name is Moe harkless, and I like ass.
  • They’re hitting three’s tonight.
  • Adams shoved damian and than said “your big man should’ve yelled”
  • If you don’t use kanter on offense why play him
  • Did the commentators just assume there is going to be a game 5
  • God i hate Evan so much.
  • I dont like how our offense looks. This cant go well over 4 quarters.
  • Have I ever mentioned how much I hate platooning in the bench lol.
  • Why isn’t Stotts leaving one of Dame or Cj in with these scrubs
  • cant get a single high % shot, dame looks bad
  • Turnover Turnover Turnover Turnover Turnover Turnover Turnover Turnover Turnover
  • This game is butt-ugly but we’re right in it.
  • Leonard can’t let Adams back him down
  • I HATE MEYERS LEONARD SO MUCH.
  • Another fan makes the half court shot! Another $20,000!
  • Unfortunately we can’t ask for more the way thunder are playing but we really need Dame to show up
  • Damn how are we down when okc is plying terrible
  • Right we are playing just stupid basketball
  • Really Stotts, you choose now to get your first tech in months?
  • Adams would make a good fullback.
  • Blazers suck tonight
  • What a shit first half. Fourteen turnovers? What the f***.
  • I don’t usually complain about officiating but you know what? &%%&^**&^%O^&*(&%&*^*&^%$^!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • So now we’re shooting like shit from three, and they’re shooting 46% from three. There’s your difference.
  • It won’t last.
  • Falling asleep on Paul George?
  • I think this series is going to be one of those where everybody just wins on their home court
  • We have 21 points over the last 14:22
  • Westbrook might be player I hate the most in this league. Absolute c***
  • I agree he’s an arrogant prick
  • Man if we can get this game closer and Dame goes HAM thunder will start panicking thinking of being down 0-3
  • and just like that we have a game…
  • Everyone is going to foul out.
  • Westbrook hits and three then they turn it over.
  • When Grant is hitting threes….
  • AGAIN WITH THESE BS TOUCH FOULS!
  • What a quarter by Dame. Screw you haters.
  • I love it. Meyers with the screeeeeeaaaam.
  • George blatantly baiting for FTs lol what a BI***.
  • Maybe if we just flop every time they touch us we will get FTs too.
  • OKC with four trillion free throws.
  • they deserve to lose
  • Dame beating both OKC and the refs that quarter.
  • We are going to win this game!!!
  • OWN THE ENDGAME!!!!!!!!!
  • Theyre gettin nervous
  • George just dry humping the f*** out of whoever he guards.
  • statsbrook back in, we need to tighten up n keep the ball safe.
  • Must be nice to get a whistle on every possession.
  • haha were gonna be in the penalty for 8 minutes
  • Refs certainly earned their paychecks tonight. F*** wads.
  • Grant f***ed us
  • Need to answer after this timeout or it could get away from them.
  • We have the best player and I think we’re gonna win
  • Westbrook with three off a board we should have had.
  • When Russ is hitting threes, you know it’s not your night.
  • Stotts coached a terrible game today. Holy hell, he’s right back to his normal self.
  • Perfect storm tonight. Terrible first half with a million turnovers. OKC hot from three and getting way more calls.
  • This rock the baby is the dumbest shit ive ever seen. Not even remotely interesting
  • Vegas had OKC -8
  • legit a game we could have won easy with a few thousand less idiotic turnovers.
  • someone needs to take the rim down and beat us to death with it
  • You’ve got to be kidding me with these Westbrook threes.
  • Westbrick is such a piece of shit lol
  • I hate Westbrook. I actually hate him.
  • i probably wouldn’t be sad if westbrook sustained an injury at this point.
  • He is really a trash human being.
  • Classy as f*** PG you little b****
  • joke of a team
  • Dame would never do that..he has respect for the game and control of his emotions
  • Blazers will be in trouble if they don’t win Sunday
  • This sucks
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Westbrook keeps his word, Thunder win Game 3

Westbrook said he had to player better after Game 2. He kept his word.

Westbrook scored 33 points, dished out 11 assists as Oklahoma City beat the Portland Trail Blazers 120-108 in Game 3 on Friday night.

With the win, the Thunder pull within 2-1 in the series.

“He’s a man of his words,” Paul George said. “He came out and led. We got behind him. He put us on his back.”

Oklahoma City led for most of the game and by as many as 16 in the contest. It was a drastic change from the first two games, where Oklahoma City had to overcome double digit deficits to get back into each contest.

“I keep playing the same way, being aggressive,” Westbrook said. “I pick my spots and concentrating and pick my spot and it’s over.”

The Thunder hit threes after not being able to hit any, basically, for the first two games of the season. Oklahoma City nailed 15 three-pointers, compared to just 10 in the first two combined. Five different players nailed two or more 3s. The Thunder finished 15-of-29 from the arc.

The 15 made threes by the Thunder tied a franchise playoff record.

“Those are shots we’ve gotten through the course of the first 2 games but we made them tonight,” Donovan said. “I thought we generated better shots for a full 48 minutes.”

Paul George added 22 points, Jerami Grant had 18 and Dennis Schroder 17 for the Thunder.

“They’ve been hitting shots all year,” Westbrook said. “Like I said in Game 1 and 2, we’ll continue to trust our teammates.”

Oklahoma City closed the second quarter on a 10-1 run to take a 49-39 lead at the break.

George hit a 3-pointer, was fouled and made the free throw in the opening minutes of the second half to push Oklahoma City’s lead to 55-43. Westbrook backed down Lillard, hit a bank shot and was fouled. Westbrook hit the jumper and the free throws, putting Oklahoma City up 15.

Lillard scored 25 points in the third quarter but the Thunder had a response for every throw the Blazers had. It was the will of a team with their backs against the wall. It was started by Westbrook, continued by the bench and finished by Westbrook.

“It was a great environment tonight, Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “We needed them tonight. The encouragement of the crowd really helped us get back on track.”

Oklahoma City is now 5-0 all-time when they go down 2-0. They’re 1-3 in those series when they do fall back 2-0.

The Thunder will host Portland in Game 4 of the series on Sunday, April 21 at 8:30 p.m. Tip-off will occur on ESPN and Fox Sports Oklahoma.

Keys to the Game

Good Russ: A+

Good Russell Westbrook was all over the place. Despite some struggles in his shooting early on, the Thunder needed all of good Russ for this one. Westbrook seemed to be in a zone in the second half. He dictated the pace of place and consistently kept Oklahoma City above water.

Role Players: A+

Jerami Grant and Dennis Schröder stepped up. They were pivotal for the Thunder’s lead throughout the second half. Oklahoma City needed Grant and Schröder in the worst way. They say role players play better at home. That was definitely true tonight.

Control turnovers: B

Oklahoma City turned it over 15 times for 13 Portland points. Oklahoma City had given up 16 points in the third of Game 2 off turnovers. The Thunder did a much better game in Game 3. They’ll have to carry that over to Game 4 if they’re going to level the series.

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Hamidou Diallo out four weeks

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow today, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

The procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek with Thunder medical personnel present at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

During the 2018-19 season, Diallo appeared in 51 games for the Thunder and averaged 3.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. After one season at the University of Kentucky, Diallo was selected by Oklahoma City with the 45th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Diallo had been inactive for a handful of games in the second half of the season. He only appeared 11 games over the final 36 games. He played more than 10 minutes only twice over that span. Seven of the games had him in action for two minutes or less.

He was also the 2019 NBA All-Star slam dunk champion.

Diallo is expected to return to basketball-related activities in approximately four weeks.

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Thunder fall back 2-0 with loss to Portland

A 10-point lead evaporated in a blink of an eye and the Thunder were never the same. Oklahoma City lost 114-94 to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night to fall back 2-0 in the best of seven series.

Portland would outscore Oklahoma City 33-10 after Oklahoma City went up double digits. It started with a stupid foul. Damian Lillard was fouled on a three by Jerami Grant. It would change the game. CJ McCollum would nail a three at the end of the half, tying it up. The game might have been over at that point.

Oklahoma City’s ineptitude at shooting the three, the Portland adjustments that made Billy Donovan resemble the coach he was back at Marshall. Terry Stotts squashing any concerns Portland fans had about his job. The second half was nothing but a dumpster fire for the Thunder.

“I have to play better,” Russell Westbrook said. “I take full responsibility for tonight. The way I played was unacceptable.”

Westbrook went 5-of-20 from the floor and 1-of-6 from three was abysmal on both sides of the floor. He either was lazy getting up the floor due to non-calls or he committed stupid fouls due to frustration. It’s not a regular season game against the Phoenix Suns. This happened in a playoff game where the Thunder are now in a hole that only six other teams had climbed out of. None of which has happened since 2016, when Boston beat Chicago 4-2.

Westbrook finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists. He was pulled with 3:31 with most of his fellow starters after Portland built a 112-91 lead.

Paul George had 27 points despite lingering questions about his right shoulder, which was covered with kinesiology tape.

Oklahoma City started with a lot more energy than in Game 1, when it fell behind by 19 points in the first half. When Westbrook hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter, he pounded his chest and the Thunder went on to lead 31-26 at the end of the period.

Lillard hit a 3-pointer and was fouled to close the Blazers within 48-43. But the game began to get heated, with Lillard and Westbrook getting into it when Lillard tried to strip the ball. The officials reviewed it for a “hostile act” but concluded there were no fouls on the play. It was chippy for much of the game, and at one point Lillard and Steven Adams stared each other down after Adams set a screen on the All-Star guard.

Oklahoma City finished 5-of-28 from three. They’re 10-of-61 for the series. If you’re going to beat the Trail Blazers, let alone even compete with them in a seven-game series, you have to hit your threes. Lillard is 9-of-19 in the series, so the shooting shouldn’t be this close.

“For the most part, I think we got fairly decent looks and we’re going to have to take them,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “As the ball gets driven downhill, and teams bring help and protect the rim, you just can’t force the ball in there and take tough, ill-advised shots. And when the ball gets sprayed back out to the perimeter and guys are open, it’s hard to say, `OK, just drive it right back to the help again and hope they move out of the way.”

Game 3 is scheduled to tip-off at 8:30 p.m. Thunder Time on Thursday night at the ‘Peake. Oklahoma City is 4-0 all-time when they trail a series 2-0. They’re 1-3 overall in those series outcomes.

Keys to the Game

Playoff P: C

George was alright. He once again struggled from three and was largely ineffective in the second half. He didn’t get the open looks he was given in Game 1. However, there were some red flags on his shooting, the grabbing of the shoulder, etc. Oklahoma City needs George healthy.

Hustle Bestbrook: F

Westbrook said it best. This loss is on him. While this is a 5-of-5. It starts with Westbrook. He has to be and play smarter.

Rim Protection: C

Meh. They barely outrebounded a team that’s missing their best rebounded. They didn’t let Kanter get the best of them tonight but it didn’t matter. The Trail Blazers nailed all of the threes and more. Oklahoma City didn’t really need to protect the rim because Portland was too busy setting it on fire.

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Thunder Playoff Game Day #2: at Portland Trail Blazers

Portland leads the series 1-0

Sunday, April 16 :: 9:30 p.m. CST :: Moda Center (19,980)
TV Coverage: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 2-point underdog. The over/under is 222.
Online StreamWatch ESPN | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Blazers: here

SETTING THE SEASON

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped Game 1 to the Portland Trail Blazers 104-99 on Sunday afternoon. Portland nabs the 1-0 series lead.
  • Russell Westbrook had his ninth playoff triple-double but wasn’t enough in the loss.
  • Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 19 in the first half before pulling within 93-92 late in the fourth quarter.
  • Teams that win the first game of a best-of-seven series at home go on to win the series 76.6% of the time (98-30).
  • NBA teams who trails 1-0 on the road are 120-267. So, historically, this is an uphill battle for the Thunder.
  • Despite being just 4-4 after losing Game 1, the Thunder are 3-5 in those series. They’ve come back from being down 2-0 once, in 2012 against San Antonio. They have never been swept in the playoff (since relocation).

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson & Lisa Salters will have the call on ABC.

SCOUTING THE ENEMY

  • The Portland Trail Blazers went 53-29 on the season, finishing third in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Trail Blazers went 8-2.
  • In their last game, Portland overcame a 28-point deficit, beating the Sacramento Kings 136-131 on April 11.
  • Oklahoma City swept Portland in the regular season 4-0.
  • All-time the Thunder are 120-116 against the Blazers.
  • Since relocating to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 22-22 against Portland.
  • The Thunder are 2-8 in their last 10 games at the Rose Garden.
  • Portland and the Thunder are tied 2-2 in playoff series wins. Haven’t met since 1991.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Jusuf Nurkic (leg) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Portland came on March 24, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 103-83 (20-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (35 points) vs. Portland occurred during a 107-72 loss on April 3, 2009.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Hamidou Diallo (elbow) is out.

UNIFORM WATCH



Keys to the Game

Playoff P

Paul George needs to play like the Paul George from the regular season against Portland. He averaged 38 pts per game against Portland during the regular season. OKC doesn’t need that kind of production, but they do need playoff P, or at least regular season MVPG. While George is nursing a shoulder injury that has nagged him for a few weeks, he may need to drive to the rim more and draw contact instead of settling for three point shots; at least until he finds his rhythm. Players like George, who admittedly went three days without shooting a basketball after the Rockets’ game, can often find their shooting stroke at the free throw line. It might seem counterintuitive for an injured player to seek fouls, but at this point in the playoffs it is win or go home.

Hustle Bestbrook

Russell Westbrook was the best player for the Thunder and he will need to continue that patience while balanced with the Westbrook aggression we all know and love (and sometimes hate). While he did fall asleep on a late, deep 4th quarter three pointer by Damian Lillard, he was looking for Lillard to run a pick’n’roll with Enes Kanter.

Rim protection

Speaking of Kanter; all OKC fans love Kanter while he was with OKC but now he is destroying the Thunder on the boards with relentless rebounding, especially on the offensive glass against smaller Thunder players after Steven Adams was forced to help against Lillard and C.J. McCollum in the pick’n’roll and dribble drive. Overall, the Thunder rim protection and rebounding effort was dreadful.

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