Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 98, Thunder 94

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December 31, 2013

NOTES

• The Trail Blazers set a new season low tonight with six turnovers (seven, twice).

• Portland has won at least 12 games in consecutive months for only the second time in team history (November/December, 1990).

• The Trail Blazers have won 25 games before the end of December for the first time since the 1990-91 season (27 wins).

• Portland has won 25 times just 32 games into the season for the fourth time in team history (27-5, 1990-91; 27-5, 1977-78; 26-6, 1998-99).

• Portland is now 4-0 this year against other top 4 teams in the Western Conference (OKC, 2-0; SA, 1-0; LAC, 1-0).

• Portland's 13 road wins are tied with San Antonio for most in the NBA this season.

• Damian Lillard is the first player in the NBA to make his 100th 3-pointer this season (second make tonight).

QUOTES

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Robin Lopez

On Batum Guarding Durant In The Fourth Quarter:
“He really got after it. I think KD only had one point. That was huge for us, obviously. That’s a great player and he thrives down the stretch in the fourth quarter. The whole team, especially Nick, did a great job on him.”

On How Important This Win Was Coming Off Of Two Losses:
“Of course we want to get the win. I think those two losses, later in the season hopefully we’ll look back at them and those will be positives. We need to learn a lesson, our defense has been slipping a little bit. That’s not saying that we cued in beautifully tonight; we have a long ways to go. I think it shows when we put our minds to it and our hearts to it how effective we can be on that end of the floor.”

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Nicolas Batum

On What Coach Stotts Said At Halftime:
“I can’t pass up shots. I have to play better defense on Kevin Durant and they need me to do that.”

On Guarding Kevin Durant In The Fourth Quarter:
“I just tried to be more aggressive on him, try to deny him getting the ball because he’s the best scorer in the league right now, for the past couple of years and the next couple of years. It’s not easy to guard him so I just try to make him work sometimes and then he missed shots that were contested.”

On How Important This Win Was Coming Off Of Two Losses:
“It was big, especially after the last two games – the way we lost them, to New Orleans and Miami. Like [LaMarcus Aldridge] said before we came on the court, good teams don’t lose two games in a row. If we want to be a good team we can’t lose three games in a row. That’s why we tried to win tonight against a good team, the best home team in the league, even when they don’t have Westbrook. They beat the Rockets by 30 last game. Houston is a pretty good team so they’re still dangerous without him [Westbrook]. It was a big win for us, huge win.”

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Terry Stotts

On Tonight's Game:
“Obviously, that was a terrific win, to get a game like this on the road during a back-to-back against the best team in the league right now. Shooting under 40 percent, 24 percent from the three, it was a gritty defensive performance in the second half. I really like the way we responded defensively. It’s a win to be proud of.”

On Portland's Second-Half Defense
“I thought we were more aggressive. It wasn’t about schemes. We didn’t change any of our schemes. I thought that at times in the first half when we were aggressive at both ends we were in the game. When we stopped being aggressive they took advantage of it. I thought we sustained our aggressiveness throughout the second half.”

On Containing Kevin Durant In The Fourth-Quarter:
“Nic Batum did a great job on him. Nic really made him work. Obviously, he missed some shots that he can make, but I thought in particular Nic was aggressive. The other four guys were very keyed in on helping him through screens and protecting the paint.”

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Kevin Durant

On Tonight's Game:
“They made shots and they played defense well. They had some tough breaks - we had some nice looks and we didn’t make them but they make tough shots and you have to give them credit…They beat us and we’re not going to make any excuses for it and just going to get better from it.”

On The Missing Basket In The Closing Seconds:
“My teammates told me if I was contested that I probably would have made the shot. I’m sure that’s going to replay in my mind for the rest of the night. I wish I could have hit that for my team, we probably would have been in overtime right now, but it is what it is. We played so hard and did the things we wanted to do defensively. We made a few mistakes but everybody played extremely hard but they just came out on top.”

On Coming Close To Winning Tonight:
“If we would have won this basketball game we wouldn’t have been in here celebrating like we had won a championship and we’re not going to hang our heads because we lost.

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Jeremy Lamb

On Making The Other Team Inefficient:
“Just try to contest everything. Don’t let them get any easy ones, contest every shot and get a hand in their face. They are a shooting team, so that was key.”

On The Defensive Effort:
“They’re a good team. I think there were a couple plays where if a shot had went down or I had gotten a rebound here or there, the game could have went either way.”

On Playing Against Aldridge:
“We have good big end defenders. They do a good job of staying down on pump fakes and things like that. We just dig or do things like that. It’s just the flow of the game.”

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Scott Brooks

On Tonight's Game:
“I think that was a heck of a game. That was like a playoff-intensity game in December. It wasn’t great. Unfortunately, we didn’t come up with a win, but it was a good game. We did a lot of good things well. The first half, I thought our defense and offense were really clicking. The 3rd quarter, I thought we didn’t come out with the right mindset, defensively. That gave them some confidence… And then we turned it over a few times, some critical moments in that 2nd half. But overall, that could’ve been anybody’s ballgame. Going into this game, we knew that they’re a good team and that it was going to go down to the last quarter. It was a good game. We didn’t do a great job of making plays at the end, and then they made some. So, give them credit.”

On Portland's Defense On Durant In The Fourth Quarter:
“They did a pretty good job of being real physical with him. We have to figure out better ways to get guys off of him. That’s on me. I will continue to look at film and figure out ways that we can get him free and not allow guys to hold on to him as much as they did tonight. I thought we had good moments throughout the game. It could’ve been anybody’s game. There were a couple of key, critical offensive rebounds we gave them and then the free throw block out was a big play.”

On How The Team Executed Tonight:
“We had a good enough defensive game to win the game, but I thought in the 2nd half it was too up and down on both ends. The offense was good for a moment and then defense was not good; the defense was good and then the offense wasn’t good. We didn’t play as consistently as we like to play a two-way basketball game tonight. But those are things that we know we can get better with. These are all correctable issues tonight. It’s nothing to do with our guys. Our guys are competitors and I thought they gave everything they had and we just didn’t come up with a win.”