Swept, but not away

We came out expecting the worst, and when the Blazers went up 24-8, we figured that was just what we were going to get; the 34-17 first-quarter score looked anything but hopeful. The gap began to narrow, and by the third things were just about even. But alas, it was not to be:

Portland 108, Oklahoma City 105, and that finishes the season series, with the Thunder on the wrong end of the sweep. Weirdly, the Thunder won only one of the usual statistical categories, but it proved to be their undoing: OKC had a slight edge from beyond the three-point circle, 8-27 (30 percent) versus 9-34 (27 percent), but the Major Dudes on the squad were not making those shots: Westbrook made one out of two, and Paul George and Carmelo Anthony combined missed 12 of 12. The Blazers had a 48-39 edge on the boards, and Portland’s duo of scary guards, Damien Lillard and C. J. McCollum, rang up 58 points between them. The only double-doubles for the night came from the centers: Jusuf Nurkić 17-12 for Portland, Steven Adams 18-10 for OKC.

Seven games to go. The Thunder remain in fourth place in the West, slightly farther behind Portland than they were, and exactly one game ahead of the Spurs. Guess who the next opponent is? Yep. In San Antonio, yet, on Thursday. The next night the Thunder get to play the Nuggets at home, and then trek to New Orleans on Sunday. All three of those teams are at least potential playoff contenders, as are the next three.

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