Momentum-Changing Plays, Physicality Define Blazers' Biggest Win of Season

CJ McCollum's steal and three pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter, Al-Farouq Aminu's drive and dunk over Serge Ibaka, Mason Plumlee's drawn charge and block in the closing minutes and, of course, Damian Lillard's barrage of three-pointers to re-gain the lead and seal the victory: the Portland Trail Blazers' 115-110 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night can be defined by a number of momentum-changing plays to help the home team over one of the NBA's top teams at Moda Center.

And when trying to snap a three-game losing streak at home, those kind of plays go a long way. 

“Certainly, I thought there were a lot of momentum plays," head coach Terry Stotts said after the win. "There were a lot of momentum plays that either kept us in it or got us over.”

For the players, each play seemed to snowball into the next to help Portland overcome an eight point deficit in the fourth quarter as the home fans grew louder with every possession.

"There were so many big plays, man," Plumlee said. "There’s a lot of good plays you can look back at and point to to help the win. Our guys were terrific tonight, man. It was a fun game to play in."

Added Aminu: "Being home, when you make plays like that, they’re even more impactful. I’m glad the fans were able to see that and get behind us so we could get the win today... It’s always good to see the ball go through the net, but when it excites my teammates, I get even more excited. It’s something everybody can rally behind, it’s momentum."

On that same note, the Blazer frontcourt showed increased physicality against the Thunder's imposing bigs. After getting outscored in the paint 48-34 and outrebounded 51-47 in a 106-90 loss to Oklahoma City last month, Stotts made it a point to his big men that the game would be won inside. The coaching paid off as 20 offensive rebounds led to 22 second-chance points.

"Last game, they beat us up on the glass: [Steven] Adams, [Enes] Kanter, they all had their way with us," Ed Davis said after recording 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench Sunday. "Coach called us out on it in pre-game and that was something we definitely wanted to pay attention to."

Added Plumlee: "We were more physical, and I thought Ed [Davis] did a helluva job rebounding, on the offensive glass especially because they really commit to penetration. I think the second-chance opportunities were big for us tonight."

Aminu, the Blazers starting small forward, specifically made it a point to bring the energy from tip-off. The Wake Forest product scored the Blazers first five points of the game, finishing with 16 points to go with a pair of highlight-reel dunks through traffic. 

"Coach called us out on [physicality]... It was something I thought it was my job as a defensive player on this team that I had to set the tone for," Aminu said.

"Now that I know that's what they want from me, I feel like it's my job -- my duty -- to set the tone."