The worn-out and banged-up Trail Blazers ran out of gas after about two and a half quarters Saturday night in a 119-106 loss at Oklahoma City.
And what did you expect?
With only eight players in uniform after trading away Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver earlier in the day and CJ McCollum's ankle sprain Friday night, there just wasn't enough firepower in Portland uniforms to stay with the Thunder. Especially on the second of back-to-back road games.
Damian Lillard, after playing 40 minutes Friday night in Dallas, scored 34 points in 35 minutes, in spite of an 0-for-8 third quarter, to keep his team close for nearly three quarters but this one was never in the cards.
Portland's recent struggles from behind the three-point line weren't as bad against OKC as the rest of the month but they needed more threes to stay in the game. After shooting a remarkably consistent 36.5, 36.8 and 36.3 percent from three over the first three months of the season, the Trail Blazers came into this contest shooting just 32.9 in nine January games. They were better Saturday, thanks in large part to Gary Trent's 5-9 from long distance. Portland's opponents in January were shooting 38.7 percent coming into this game, making an average of four more per game than the Trail Blazers.
Chris Paul was vintage Chris Paul. He scored 30 points in 27 minutes, had seven assists and just one turnover while making 11 of his 15 shots.
"I thought Chris Paul was a really good player tonight," Terry Stotts said. "He's been a really good player for his career but he had a really good game tonight, He really managed the game, scored and when he was on the court they were a much better team. Hats off to him. I was really happy Gary Trent had a good game. Best game of his career, I think."
Trent made his first seven shots of the game and scored 30 points on just 18 shots.
Did Stotts think his team ran out of gas?
"That's possible. we were hanging in there close," Stotts said. "They made some runs, I don't know if we ran out of gas or not. Mostly, Chris Paul's impact on the game more than anything else."
Well, coaches don't like to make excuses, but they ran out of gas. And they have just one day to rest before playing host to the Golden State Warriors Monday night in Moda Center.