OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Trail Blazers finished off the month of January with a 98-81 loss to the Thunder in front of a crowd of 13,812 Monday night at Paycom Center in Oklahoma City.
“It’s crazy, I thought we really played he right way in the first half,” said Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups. “We drew extra defenders, we just couldn’t make shots... For the most part, this was just one of those games we couldn’t make a shot. Anyone in the league scores 81 points, there’s no way you’re going to have a chance to win a game.”
Portland is now 21-30 overall, 7-17 on the road and 0-1 versus the Thunder this season. The Blazers have now dropped two-straight and our of their last five.
The Trail Blazers led by as many as 14 in the first quarter and 18 in the second before the Thunder closed out the half on a 15-5 run to cut the deficit to eight heading into the intermission.
“I knew at halftime -- they’re 4-of-21, we’re 5-of-21 from three -- somebody is going to hit some shots, I’m hoping it’s us. And it wasn’t us.”
It would continue to go downhill from there. Oklahoma City took their first lead of the game with a little less than three minutes to play in the third and would take a 65-61 advantage into the fourth thanks to outscoring Portland 26-14 in the quarter.
The Blazers scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 65-65, but the Thunder would respond with a 15-0 run in the next three minutes to take control of the game.
“I thought defensively we had a couple blown coverages, but that happens to everybody,” said Billups. “No different than anybody else as far as that’s concerned.”
And with Portland unable to hit from three -- they made just two three-pointers in the second half and went 7-of-38 for the evening -- nor slow a suddenly accurate Oklahoma City attack -- the home team shot 59 percent from the field and 56 percent from three in the fourth -- the prospect of a comeback never materialized.
“Tough loss,” said CJ McCollum. “Back-to-back against a team with 14 wins, blew the lead, didn’t get enough stops down the stretch, although defense wasn’t that bad if you give up 98 points. Offensively we came up short, a lot of missed threes, a lot of good looks that just didn’t fall.”
McCollum went 10-of-17 from the field for 21 points to go with seven assists and three rebounds in just under 39 minutes. Norman Powell went 6-of-15 for 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and a block in 37 minutes.
Jusuf Nurkic came a rebound away from a double-double with 14 points an d nine rebounds in 30 minutes.
Lu Dort paced the Thunder in scoring with 18 points. Josh Giddey posted a double-double of 14 points and 12 assists. Darius Bazley put up 15 points off the bench.
The Trail Blazers now have Tuesday off before finishing up a four-game trip versus the Lakers at Crypto.com Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.