With about six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City was in the middle of a 30-6 run that put them up by 15 points. I tweeted that the series was over and I meant that. It looked like Portland had packed it in and that was going to be that. Then the Thunder started to do some Thunder things. They got sloppy, they made some stupid fouls, missed crucial free throws and the Blazers started to claw their way back into it.
And then this happened.
Those were points 48, 49, and 50 for Damian Lillard. The Portland Trail Blazers are going on to the second round of the playoffs as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-115.
This was a game of runs. Oklahoma City started the game on a big run and got up ten in the second quarter and then the Blazers fought back to take a 61-60 lead going into half time. Dame had 19 points in the first quarter and then added 13 more in the second quarter. You knew something special was brewing.
You could feel it.
The Blazers started off hot in the third and pushed their lead up to 14 points before the Thunder came back and took a two-point lead heading into the fourth. And this is where Terry Stotts put in most of his bench once again at an inopportune time. The Thunder took advantage and went on that aforementioned 30-6 run to look like they put the game on ice and were primed to go back to OKC to put the Blazers on ice.
This is where Paul George missed two free throws. Westbrook had an offensive foul and three turnovers. While this was going on Dame knocked down a couple of threes and an amazing driving layup. The Thunder’s defense lapsed and they kept forgetting to cover Mo Harkless, who had a couple of easy dunks.
The Blazers kept chipping away and chipping away. CJ and Moe both had 17 points, and Kanter was the only other player in double digits with 13.
Note on Kanter, his left arm was in a sling after the game. We’ll wait to hear what the injury is there before we speculate.
And, Kevin Calabro, let’s hear it one more time.
“That was the best performance I ever saw in person,” said coach Stotts after the game. I can’t remember the last time I have seen a playoff performance like that either.
Blazers will take on the winner of the Nuggets-Spurs series. We’ll update you when that series is final.
Update: Kanter says he will play in the next series.