OKLAHOMA CITY – With the Oklahoma City Thunder down 2-0 to the Portland Trail Blazers in the best of seven series, the Thunder know adjustments need to be made and shots need to go down.
Coming off Game 2, Russell Westbrook went 5-of-20 from the floor and also committed 6 turnovers, while Damian Lillard finished with 29 points on 10-of-21 shooting including 4-of-8 from three. Portland’s backcourt outscored OKC’s 62-21.
After the Thunder wrapped up Friday morning’s shootaround, their shooting struggles were addressed, as well as what the Thunder feel may just make a big difference in Game 3.
OKC’s shooting woes
In Game 2, OKC shooting woes were front and center. The Thunder shot just 40.7 percent from the field as a team and 17.9 percent (5-of-28) from 3-point range and shooting 15.2 from three in Game 1.
During the regular season, Thunder starting power forward Jerami Grant averaged 11 points vs. the Blazers. In the first two playoffs games, he has scored 13 points combined on 3-of-15 shooting.
Grant discussed how he and his teammates have been talking to each other about how they can’t shy away from taking shots because the tide will eventually turn.
“Just missing shots,” Grant said. “We’re fine though. We workout enough we know how to shoot the basketball. We know what we gotta do. We’ll be fine tonight.”
The X-Factor: Home Court
After getting blown out in Game 2, the Thunder are now favored by 7.5 in Game 3. What's changed? Simply put: home court.
OKC finished the season with a 27-14 home record. Two of those home wins were big time performances against the Blazers.
“Um, we’ll see” was Westbrook’s simple response to “how important will homecourt advantage tonight?”
Westbrook did have a thoughtful answer though when it came to describing the Thunder fan base.
“Especially during this time of year they’re very, very excited, loud, intense throughout the whole game so it’s kinda good to always get in front of them. Westbrook said.
It sounds like having the home crowd behind them it what just might make the difference in Game 3.
“It’s huge, it’s huge. Playing at home, especially with the fans that we have it’s an extra man on the court with us. We’re definitely excited for this,” Grant said.
The Trail Blazers also understand what it means to play in front of your homecourt. After Portland’s shootaround, Lillard talked about the key to getting a win on the road.
“A lot of times you get on the road and it’s a little bit harder to do some of things you do at home when you get on the road because you’ve got… the crowd... it’s a standing ovation, they’re trying to get you going. Every shot that you make the crowd is going wild, making you feel good about everything little thing that you do… Those are the feel good things that you get from being a home team,” Lillard said.
“Then when you go on the road. It’s the exact opposite. Every time they make a shot it’s like the end of the world… So, it’s us being able to keep our focus and sustain what our mentality has been regardless of home or on the road,” Lillard added.
Game 3 between the Blazers and Thunder will tip-off at 6:30 pacific time on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.