Trail Blazers earn resounding victory against OKC Thunder

The Portland Trailblazers recently defeated the OKC Thunder 136-119 at the Moda Center, the venue for Blazer home games. Photo courtesy of Flickr User Camknows

The Portland Trail Blazers came home to the Moda Center for the first time in two weeks on Nov. 27, selling out the stadium. After a four-game losing streak, the Trail Blazers bounced back by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 136-119. 

Though they won by 17 points, the Blazers were ahead by as much as 35 in the game. The addition of veteran Carmelo Anthony seemed to be the key to success for the struggling Trail Blazers. Anthony has been signed to a non-guaranteed contract and will be given a roster spot if he is not cut before Jan. 7. Anthony went nine for 11, scoring 19 points with four rebounds and two assists. In the fourth quarter, the crowd chanted for Melo, giving him a warm welcome back to the league and to his new Blazer’s team.

Hassan Whiteside broke out of his scoring shell and amassed his tenth double-double of the season and arguably his best game of the season, scoring 21 and 16 rebounds. He dominated his opponent, Steven Adams of the Thunder, all night long, only allowing eight points in total for him. 

The Blazers put on a show in the first quarter, making their first 10 shots. Whiteside’s presence in the paint proved to help significantly with ball movement, kicking the ball out to CJ McCollum in the corner twice for two three-pointers in the first quarter. McCollum ended up finishing the game with 22 points. The Blazers led the Thunder 42-26 in the first quarter, making it their highest scoring quarter of the season. Their second-highest scoring quarter was coincidentally in the third quarter, scoring 41 points. Damian Lillard also had a much needed break-out night, going five for nine from three and seven for 15 overall with a total of 27 points. 

This continues his lasting success against the Thunder. 

Last year, Lillard averaged 34.8 points per game and 7.8 assists per game against Russell Westbrook’s Thunder. Now that Westbrook has been traded, Lillard had a new matchup in Chris Paul. On the Thunder, Paul had 16 points and five assists having a strong performance overall despite his team’s lackluster performance. 

The Blazers shot 52% from the field and 46% from the three-point line. The entire starting line-up had double-figure points in the game. 

The Blazers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 117-97 on Dec. 3. They rebounded on Dec. 4 with a win over the Sacramento Kings. The team plays today, Friday, Dec. 6 against the Los Angeles Lakers. This is their third game of a five game home stand. 

After the Lakers game, the Trail Blazers will  host the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New York Knicks before flying out to Colorado to play Denver Nuggets on Dec. 12. As of this publication, the Portland Trail Blazers have an overall record of 8 wins and 13 losses.

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