Trail Blazers Fall To 1-3 In Las Vegas With Loss To Thunder

by Casey Holdahl
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LAS VEGAS -- The Portland Trail Blazers, shorthanded due to injury, finished up preliminary round play at the 2019 Las Vegas Summer League with a 92-87 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday at COX Pavilion.

The Trail Blazers are now 1-3 in preliminary round play and will not qualify for tournament play after winning the 2019 Las Vegas Summer League championship.

"It's a little disappointing, obviously you want to win," said assistant coach Jim Moran, who is handling head coaching duties in Las Vegas. "The teams that can kind of get the most accomplished and get on the same page the quickest usually have the most success."

The summer league Trail Blazers will now play one more game either on Friday or Saturday before going their separate ways.

"We only had four practices, so I'm just happy with their effort," said Moran. "They compete, they play hard and they give themselves a chance to win down the stretch."

With Anfernee Simons, who is averaging 22.0 points on 66 percent shooting from the field and 64 percent shooting from three over the course of three games in Las Vegas, sitting out with a right ankle sprain and rookie forward Nassir Little suffering a right shoulder contusion early in the first quarter, Gary Trent Jr. and Jaylen Hoard were the only players under contract to play significant minutes Thursday night.

And in the first half, it showed. After playing Oklahoma City to a draw in the first quarter, the Trail Blazers shot just 5-of-19 from the field were outscored 28-16 in the second, resulting in an 48-36 halftime deficit.

But thanks in large part to the play of center Jarnell Stokes, who scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, the Trail Blazers were able to chip away at the Thunders' halftime lead.

It seemed as if Portland might get to .500 in Las Vegas after Stokes finished an and-1 to cut cut Oklahoma City's lead to one with 28 seconds to play. Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo missed a layup on the ensuring possession, but rookie Darius Bazely was there for the tip-in with six seconds to play to put the advantage back to three.

After calling timeout to move the ball up the court, the Trail Blazers had an opportunity to at least send the game to overtime with a three, but Isaiah Whitehead's inbound pass was stolen by Deonte Burton, who finished the fastbreak with a dunk that would effectively end the game with three seconds to play.

Trent Jr. led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-24 shooting from the field and 2-of-14 shooting from three to go with eight rebounds, two steals and an assist in just under 34 minutes. Stokes grabbed seven rebounds to go with 17 points in 20 minutes.

Gian Clavell came off the bench to score 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and Hoard added nine points, six rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes.

Kevin Hervey led the Thunder with 20 points on 50 percent shooting. Diallo and Burton each finished with 14 and rookie Luguentz Dort went 4-of-6 from the field for 12 points in 15 minutes.

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