The Blazers returned home after a feel-good victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. We had a game of vintage proportions from Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard had a season-high in assists. The Oklahoma City Thunder have not been in Portland since Dame waved goodbye to Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
We should also note that this is Carmelo’s first game in Portland since becoming a Blazer. The crowd is pretty warm to him early.
The Blazers did not mess around tonight and outclassed and outmatched the Thunder tonight, 136-119.
CJ McCollum is starting out a house of fire tonight. He jumps out to a quick 6-0 lead over the Thunder. Lillard is looking to get his teammates involved early again. He and Hassan Whiteside are really starting to click on that high pick and roll. They have run the play three times in the first three minutes and have scored six points on it so far.
The ball movement is on point tonight. Steven Adams can’t stick with Whiteside at all, and Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are getting stuck at the top of the pick. Whiteside has had many, many easy buckets here in the first. He’s got 14 points and six rebounds early.
Not to be overlooked is Rodney Hood being three for three from three to start the game. His shot has been locked in the last few games.
Anfernee Simons needs to look be a bit more pass-first when he comes in and Dame is on the floor too. He’s 0-4 in the four minutes he’s been on the court to start. The Blazers are also scoreless in the same amount of time. If they kept up the ball movement they might have scored fifty in the quarter. Instead, they have to settle for 42 and a sixteen point lead.
Blazers also had 10 assists in the quarter. That’s half their season total.
Blazer bigs are attacking Adams. Adams has been dealing with various lower-body injuries this season and is much slower than normal. He’ll still set a big screen, but he can’t move and the Blazers are wise to attack him as much as possible. I think Nerlens Noel should be taking most of the minutes. But you have to play Adams to justify that contract.
Kent Bazemore is so sneaky on that backside or in this instance a side…side block. I thought the rim was going to decapitate him.
Melo seems more apt to move the ball this year and it’s paying off. Everyone knows that Carmelo will ISO for 17 seconds in a shot clock, but he’s moving the ball well this year. If he doesn’t have something in a few seconds he’s moving the ball and catching the defense sleeping.
Boy, is CJ feeling feisty tonight or what? He tried to throw down on Noel. It didn’t go down, but you have to appreciate the hustle there. It looks like CJ has finally woken up this season. That is not good news for the rest of the league if this is the case.
Speaking of Noel, he’s gotten a couple easy lob dunks. Might want to tighten that up. This is something the Thunder have been doing for years. It seems to be a staple of Billy Donovan‘s offense.
Portland responds by doing it with Whiteside and getting the old fashioned three-point play.
Again, the ball movement. The Blazers are not stingy with passes tonight. Numerous guys had wide-open three-point attempts and they kept the ball going until they got a layup from Nassir Little. Earlier in the season those would have been long misses and tonight it is two points.
One thing that has not changed is bad three-point shooters making three-pointers against Portland. Dennis Schroder, Darius Bazley, and Terrance Ferguson have all knocked down threes tonight. They are not good shooters, but they are knocking them down tonight.
Thunder outscored the Blazers by three, 24-21 in the second quarter. Whiteside has 19 (three short of his season-high) and Rodney Hood has yet to hit the rim tonight. I think Whiteside ahs a 20-20 game in him tonight. Let’s see if this line jinxes him. I hope not.
Oklahoma City starts off the third quarter with a 7-2 run. The Blazers seem flat and that is not to be unexpected. They have been flat every third quarter at home so far this season. Moda even seems dead. Did they eat a bunch of turkey at halftime? The refs are acting like Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Paul George all play for the Thunder still. Some really questionable calls happening to start the quarter. Took four minutes for the Blazers to get into the penalty.
SGA does not know how to deal with Lillard. Dame has bullied him to the basket and has drilled two threes when he has played back. Carmelo has also killed SGA on a couple of switches. SGA needs to hit the weight room. Not this offseason, but now.
Melo has been killing guards when they switch. He murdered Satoransky and White when they switched.
The game has slowed down a great deal since the first quarter. OKC is 24th in pace and they would love to be like the Knicks of the 90s and keep the game below 85. Blazers are going to get that before the end of the third, but that’s where OKC wants it because they don’t have an offense that even a mother could love.
The ball movement has slowed down quite a bit for the Blazers here in the third as well. Chris Paul is their only consistent offensive player.
And there we go! Blazers moving the ball. Hood and Dame with back to back threes and the lead is back up to 22. OKC has the 25th ranked offense in the league and this might be hard for them to come back on. That is unless Chris Paul has one of those game-changing quarters.
Blazers scored 41 in the third and have pushed their lead to 27 points entering the fourth. Blazers extend the lead to 30, Melo checks out and Portland wants a curtain call. Not sure how you pull that off in basketball.
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 27 points, CJ added, 22, Whiteside had 21, Melo had 19 on 9-11 shooting, Hood added 14, and Simons had 14 off the bench.
Jaylen Hoard was the only Blazer to not score tonight.
- When Jusuf Nurkic is healthy I want to see the Blazers trot out a lineup of Nurk, Whiteside, Skal, Melo, and Dame.
- I want to see Moses Brown in the slam dunk contest during All-Star Saturday Night.
- These cream colored city uniforms are fire. I might have to get myself one.
- My wife doesn’t think I can drink two bottles of wine and not ruin Thanksgiving dinner. Challenge accepted.
- TIL: Kevin Calabro is scared of giant bats.
- Chris Paul is the Ric Flair of the NBA. The dirtiest player in the game.
- If Honey Bucket is giving out prizes at a game I don’t want it. Nothing good comes from Honey Bucket.
- The new Grudge movie does not look good at all.
- Living in Southern California you are always on edge for the next big earthquake. My dog has such violent dreams she shakes the whole house and I think there is an earthquake. I’m not joking.
The Blazers stay home and welcome in the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Tip is a little after 7:00 PM.