Shorthanded Blazers fall short at OKC
Chris Paul scored 30 points and Oklahoma City boat-raced the shorthanded Trail Blazers 119-106 Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Thunder (24-19).
Damian Lillard scored 34 points and Gary Trent Jr. bombed in a career-high 30 points for Portland (18-26), which fell into 11th place in the NBA Western Conference.
The Blazers were down to eight players available after a trade sent Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan. Portland also sent two future second-round draft picks to the Kings.
CJ McCollum missed the game due to an ankle injury suffered in Friday's 120-112 loss at Dallas.
Oklahoma City made nine of its first 14 shots to forge a 24-13 lead. Portland closed it to 32-24 after one quarter. The Blazers cut it to 37-35, and were still within 57-55 late in the second quarter, with Lillard scoring 11 straight points. But Paul answered with seven straight points to make it 64-55. It was 64-55 at the half, with Lillard scoring 24 points and Paul 21.
The Thunder extended it to 74-63, but the Blazers drew to within 77-73 late in the third quarter. OKC used a 10-2 spurt to make it 87-75; it was 87-77 heading into the final period. Lillard missed all eight of his field goal attempts in the third quarter.
The difference grew to 105-85 with six minutes remaining. The Blazers got no closer than 13 the rest of the way.
On his 21st birthday, Trent took advantage of a career-high 36 points to put together a career game. The second-year pro from Duke made 12 of 18 shots from the field, including 5 of 9 from the 3-point line. Trent made his first seven shots from the field, three from 3-point range.
Portland plays host to Golden State on Monday night at Moda Center.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.