The Portland Trail Blazers have no love for Oklahoma City, and with two players missing tonight, Jerami Grant with a sprain and Dennis Schröder with something or other, they thought they were smelling blood. Their 68-49 halftime deficit persuaded them otherwise. However, the Blazers came out of the locker room loaded for bear, and not a Teddy bear either, putting together a 33-19 third quarter. But that’s as far as they would get. Russell Westbrook had his tenth consecutive triple-double, 21-14-11, which got chalked into the record book; but Paul George, yes, Paul frigging George had a triple-double, 47-12-10. (Do I hear calls of “M-V-P”?) Oklahoma City 120, Portland 111, 3-0 in the season series, and for icing on the cake: Jusuf Nurkić fouled out.
It wasn’t Damian Lillard’s idea by any means: he rolled up 31 points on 9-22 shooting, nailing 10 of 11 free throws. (Yes, he missed one. That never happens.) Reserve power forward Jake Layman demonstrated good power: 17 points and four blocks. C. J. McCollum was somehow held to 13 points.
Even a pair of triple-doubles is never the whole story. Raymond Felton was unglued from the bench and turned in 13 points and a plus-13, trailing only PG-13 (!); Deonte Burton hauled in a career-high 18; and who knows what Steven Adams might have done if he wasn’t obviously hurting.
There’s still that trip to New Orleans on Thursday. We’re assuming Anthony Davis will be playing, though we’re not about to guess how many minutes he gets. And then there’s that whole All-Star Game, about which the following can be said: at least it’s better than the NFL Pro Bowl.