OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Thunder got their revenge in Game 3 after the Trail Blazers took a 2-0 advantage.
OKC was looking to make it more of series in front of its home crowd and the fans were ready for it. The Thunder crowd was bringing the energy even before the game started. The fanbase welcomed back Enes Kanter with a loud applause during the pregame introductions, but that was the first and last time they gave any love to the big fella.
Early in the third quarter it looked as the Thunder were going to run away with this one. OKC’s biggest lead was 16 points.
Then, Damian Lillard happened...
Lillard scored 25 points in the third quarter to help keep Portland within striking distance.
The Thunder’s lead dwindled down to just four points heading into the final period. It was a hard fought battle in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder had the last word, defeating the Blazers.
Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers Game 3 loss:
1. A low scoring affair early
If it wasn’t for the Thunder’s three-point shooting in the first quarter, the start of the game would’ve been real rough for OKC. Yes, you heard that right.
Shooting on your home court can make all the difference and it sure did for Oklahoma City.
The tide turned for the Thunder from the perimeter. After shooting just over 15% from three in Game 1 and over 17% in Game 2, OKC started the game going 5-for-8 from deep. Yet, the Blazers still had a 22-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Playing at home really helped out shooting guard Terrance Ferguson. He went a perfect 3-for-3 before missing his first three-point attempt midway through the 3rd quarter.
2. It wasn’t pretty one
Neither team had a very clean offensive game, particular in the first half. Both teams were committing turnovers and there were plenty of offensive fouls to go around.
But when you are the road team making it an ugly game can be an advantage just like the Godfather Dwight Jaynes pointed out.
Trail Blazers doing a good job of mucking the game up, whether they wanted to or not. Generally a good thing on the road— Dwight Jaynes (@dwightjaynes) April 20, 2019
To have 13-first half turnovers and only be shooting the ball 37.5% as a team on the road, Portland could’ve been a lot worse shape at halftime. The Thunder led by 10 at the break.
3. Fouls changed the game
Paul George had 10 points at halftime, but once the Blazers got into foul trouble he was able to get cleaner looks and was able to convert. Midway through the third quarter, Portland’s top defenders on George, Maurice Harkless and AL-Farouq Aminu both had been hit with four fouls each.
The foul trouble for Portland disrupted their defense, and in the end, the Blazers weren’t able to snag this one on the road.
NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers and Thunder will tip-off Game 4 on Sunday night at 6:30pm pacific time. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Northwest. Our pregame coverage starts at 5:30pm.
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