DAMIAN Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic came up clutch in leading the Portland Trailblazers fourth quarter comeback to snap the Oklahoma City Thunder’s four-game win streak, 114-109, on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) at the Moda Center.
Portland got off to a hot start, leading 20-8 early in the first before seeing Oklahoma City fight back to take a 31-28 lead in the second quarter. The Blazers regained control, leading 57-48 near halftime but Russell Westbrook sparked a 15-1 tear bridging the middle quarters to get the Thunder back on top, 63-58, early in the third period.
It was a back-and-forth battle from there with four lead changes in the third before the Thunder started out hot in the fourth to build their largest lead at eight, 97-89, at the 7:48 mark. Nurkic, however, led a Blazers 16-0 run to get ahead, 110-101, in a five-minute span.
Andre Roberson sank a pair of free throws to stop the bleeding and Westbrook completed a three-point play before CJ McCollum threw a careless pass to give OKC possession facing only a four-point deficit, 110-106, with 32 ticks to go. Alex Abrines then hit his second triple of the quarter to bring the Thunder within one, 110-109, with 17 seconds left.
Lillard calmly sank his charities on the next play before sealing the game with another pair of free throws following Westbrook’s missed three-point attempt.
Lillard led the Blazers, who snapped a two-game skid to improve to 25-35, with 33 points, while Nurkic added a double-double of 18 markers and 12 rebounds to go with six assists and five blocks. McCollum also scored 18 for Portland.
Westbrook had his third straight 40-point game as he finished with 45 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Thunder, who fell to 35-26. Enes Kanter and Taj Gibson scored 18 and 15 markers, respectively, off the bench.