Photo / Bruce Ely
McCollum's Third Quarter Leads Blazers In Blowout At OKC
Without point guard Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers (22-18) steamrolled their way to a third-straight victory, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder (22-19), 117-106, in front of a sellout crowd of 18,203 fans at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. With the win, the Blazers surpassed the Thunder for fifth place. in the Western Conference standings.
Despite shooting 37% in the opening quarter, the Blazers kept pace in opening minutes by forcing seven turnovers out of the Thunder offense. Portland found its stroke in the second quarter, going 9-of-16 from the field to claim a 54-50 lead at halftime behind a combined 38 points from Jusuf Nurkić, CJ McCollum and Shabazz Napier.
Led by Nurkić and Al-Farouq Aminu on the offensive end, Portland jumped out to a 21-6 run midway through the third quarter. Bolstered by McCollum’s 7-of-9 shooting from the field and scoring 15 points in the period, the Blazers held an 88-76 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
The Thunder would narrowly outscore the Blazers, 30-29, in the fourth quarter but it was too little, too late as head coach Billy Donovan pulled Oklahoma City’s starters with 2:53 left in the contest, the Blazers up 16 at that point. Portland’s reserves would go on to close out the 117-106 victory.
CJ McCollum led all scorers with 27 points, 15 of which came in the third quarter to go with a team-high seven assists. Filling in yet again on point guard duty, Shabazz Napier scored 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting form the field, grabbing five rebounds in the process. Center Jusuf Nurkić scored 20 points and added eight rebounds in the victory.
Al-Farouq Aminu added 10 points and seven rebounds, while Pat Connaughton led the bench with 10 points. Maurice Harkless and rookie Zach Collins each scored nine for the second unit.
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook scores 22 points on 7-of-20 shooting to go with 12 assists and nine rebounds. Paul George also scored 22 points in 32 minutes of work.
"Once I can get a couple baskets to go, I feel like nobody can check me." -- CJ McCollum on his third quarter shooting.
- With 21 points, Shabazz Napier has more 20-point games this year (4) than the rest of his career combined (3).
- With 34 points in the third period, the Trail Blazers have scored at least 30 points in the third quarter in five straight games.
The Trail Blazers travel to Houston for the second night of a back-to-back, taking on the Rockets at the Toyota Center on Wednesday evening. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. Pacific.