The Portland Trail Blazers get blown out on the road by the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder
The Portland Trail Blazers visited their former I-5 rival, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the first of four in their series this season. All-time, Oklahoma City leads 123-120, 79-42 at home, including the years in Seattle. The Blazers defeated them 133-85 the last time they met, back on April 13, 2021.
First half highlights:
Portland won the tip to begin the game Monday afternoon. CJ McCollum scored first on a three-pointer, followed by a Thunder miss, which led to a Norman Powell three to give Portland a 6-0 start. Oklahoma City’s first points came via free throws from rookie Josh Giddey. Their first field goal was a three by Tre Mann. Blazers would go on an 8-0 run for 2:43, with Aaron Wiggins ending the run with a layup. Trendon Watford and Ben McLemore were the first off the bench replacing Jusuf Nurkić and McCollum. McLemore would hit his first shot, a three at the four-minute mark in the first quarter, giving the Blazers a 22-14 lead. The injury bug would strike Portland yet again with Watford coming down on his ankle, a result of a flagrant one foul called on Mamadi Diakite. Watford would head to the locker room after making his free throw, replaced by Greg Brown III. Watford would later return from what was ruled an ankle sprain. Portland led at the end of the first, 31-19.
The Thunder opened the second with a three by Darius Bazley, and Dennis Smith Jr. responded, scoring first for Portland in the second period. The Blazers would go on a 9-0 run for nearly four minutes before Bazley made a driving layup. Robert Covington would pick up his third foul with 4:45 to play in the half. Blazers led 47-39 to end the quarter going into the break. McCollum led Portland with 13 points.
The third quarter, and subsequently the second half, belonged to Oklahoma City. The Thunder scored first to begin the second half and would cut the lead to four before McCollum made a floating jump shot, giving Portland their first points almost two minutes into the half. The Thunder got super hot, tied the game at 51 with 7:43 remaining in the third, took the lead with 2:55 left, and ended the quarter on top, 65-61. Portland would tie it 33 seconds into the fourth, but the Thunder continued their hot streak with a 15-0 run with 8:32 to be played. Covington ended the run with two made free throws. Eventually, Oklahoma City’s effort proved too much for Portland to match in this game and Coach Chauncey Billups waived the white flag with 2:42 to go, bringing in Watford, Tony Snell, Brown III, Smith Jr., and Keljin Blevins. The final score tallied 98-81 in OKC’s favor. Portland shot a horrid 7-38, 18.4 percent on threes. McCollum led the way for the Blazers with 21 points.