Two nights after what was more or less a meltdown, the Blazers came out on Sunday night and looked like they were going to get run off the floor once again. Instead, the Blazers went on an 11-0 run to end the half to take a four-point lead going into half time. Instead of the series being tied heading back to Portland the Blazers beat the Thunder tonight, 111-98 and will look to close out the series on Tuesday night.
On Friday night the Blazers turned the ball over so much and it kept OKC going throughout the night and ultimately led to their demise. Stotts has also been very iffy on his rotations this series. He’s way too comfortable doing ten and eleven-man rotations this series. Most coaches shorten their rotations and Stotts has remained steadfast and making sure there are eleven guys getting run. And those two things are what have been hurting the Blazers most this series.
Tonight Damian Lillard took things into his own hands. The Blazers were up big in the fourth quarter and Stotts has been letting Dame sit until about the seven-minute mark. Tonight Lillard checked himself in at the nine and a half minute mark. Stotts tried to get him to sit back down, but Lillard knew that his team needed him.
And they did. The Thunder made a run at this point and Portland bent but did not break.
Lillard almost started the first half on an oh-fer, but he came back strong at the end of the second and into the third as Portland pushed themselves up to a 19 point lead. Oklahoma City managed to cut it to ten heading into the fourth quarter.
That’s where things got a little dicey for Portland. After some questionable calls by the officials and a missed Paul George trip of Al-Faroque Aminu that led to a Thunder three, OKC managed to cut the lead down to seven points. But Westbrook missed a few big shots and Portland was able to put things away.
CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 27 points and Dame chipped in 24, with Aminu adding 19 big points and nine rebounds. Zach Collins had an impressive ten points off the bench and had a huge few rebounds in the second quarter. He also played pretty decent (not great) defense against Steven Adams.
Russell Westbrook only had one point in the second half and Dennis Schroder did not tap his wrist at all.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Moda Center at 7:30 PM on TNT.
Hopefully, the Blazers can close it out. It’ll be scary heading back to OKC for a Game 6.