Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder Pick - Game 3
The Portland Trail Blazers would love to stay the course when they visit Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder Friday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. The Thunder come into the game -7 over the Trail Blazers.
Thunder in Early Hole
The Thunder, of course, would prefer a much different outcome. Oklahoma City couldn’t shoot worth a hoot from long distance in losing the first two games of the series in Portland, making 10 of 61 shots (.164) from 3-point range. The Thunder were 5 for 33 in Friday’s opener and 5 for 28 in Game 2 on Sunday.
Forward Paul George is 6 for 22 on his 3-point attempts, and Russell Westbrook is 1 for 10 in the series. Jerami Grant and Dennis Schroder are both 0 for 8, Terrance Ferguson 2 for 7.
Coach Billy Donovan didn't quarrel with most of the shots taken from beyond the arc by his players but understands they're going to have to be accurate in Game 3, or the series could end quickly.
“For the most part, we got off fairly decent looks (in Game 2), and we’re going to have to take them,” Donovan said. “(The Blazers) protect the rim as the ball gets driven downhill, and you can’t just force the ball in there. You have to keep the defense somewhat honest by making some of these shots.”
Westbrook, in particular, has struggled in the two games. The All-Star point guard had a near triple-double Tuesday with 14 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds, but he also had six turnovers and was 5 for 20 from the field, including 1 for 6 on 3-point attempts.
“He probably missed some shots at the rim that he could make, and there were times when we forced some misses,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “Our guys did a nice job of at least making some of his shots difficult.”
Lillard Big Time Player
Damian Lillard shadowed Westbrook for much of Game 2, recording two blocks and three steals in 37 minutes.
“He’s really competitive,” Stotts said. “As a group, we’re all trying to play defense, but Dame’ is really focused at both ends of the floor. He knows how important it is.
“Dame’s defense has improved over time. He’s a much better defensive player than people give him credit for. No question he was locked in tonight.”
Lillard also scored 29 points in Game 2 and joined with C.J. McCollum, who tallied a game-high 33, to lead Portland’s offensive attack. McCollum sank 12 of 22 shots from the field, 3 of 7 from 3-point range and 6 of 6 at the line. Lillard was 4 for 8 from the 3-point line and 5 of 7 from the foul line.
“When you have two guys who can create their shots, create problems for the defense, it makes their teammates better,” Stotts said. “Scoring is important in this game. When you have two guys like that, it’s hard to replicate.”
George said the Thunder shouldn’t alter their game plan. “We have to keep shooting,” George said. “We’re going to make shots. Keep shooting. We missed shots, so what? Keep shooting.”
- Get more details: Portland Trailblazers vs Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Match-up Stats
Trailblazers vs Thunder Prediction 04/19/2019
The Thunder are in a must-win situation. Oklahoma City has too much talent to go down this easy in the first round. Look for Oklahoma City to get in the win column with a 10+ point win. Bet the Thunder on Friday night.
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