By Addam Francisco
Sunday night was a game against a division rival the Portland Trailblazers (16-24) that went very good... Until the final 3 minutes of the game. Fans were relaxed, and most chalked the game up as a win. That wasn't the case after a complete debacle offensively and defensively at the end of the game that favored Portland 115-110.
One might ask what went wrong at the end of the game? The problem was defense. With Portland scoring 35 points in the final quarter, that opened the door for the Trailblazers to take the lead and ultimately win the game. Yes, DEFENSE (once again) lost the game for OKC. Damian Lillard finished the game with 31 points off 9-of-18 shooting and 8-of-14 shooting from the 3-point line. This is unacceptable coming from a player (Russell Westbrook) who once won Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12 Conference. C.J. McCollum also scored 22 points in an off-night, shooting 8-of-23 from the field. Al-Foroug Aminu also added 16 points off 6-of-15 shooting. As a team, Portland didn't shoot too well, just 42 percent. This is a game where all indications pointed towards a win so the team thought they didn't have to finish.
Offensively this was a pretty good game though. 110 points? That's great. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook finished with a combined 53 points off 17-of-42 shooting. There are multiple problems with that statistic right there.
1.) The team shot the ball only 76 times... Why did KD and Russell account for 55.2 percent of the teams shot attempts?
2.) Why didn't Serge get more shot attempts? Is it a lack of aggressiveness on the offensive end, or is he just getting overlooked? Ibaka shot 5-of-7 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from three. He finished with 14 points, but probably should have finished with at least 20 the way he was shooting tonight.
3.) Steven Adams probably should have gotten the ball more often as well. Shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, for 17 points.
Another lost game due to the lack of defense late in the game. Oklahoma City will try to regroup and improve their record to (27-12) on Tuesday in Minnesota at 7:00 p.m. CT. The Timberwolves are (12-26) on the season and last in the Northwest Division.