"They are very physical," Blazers forward Mason Plumlee told
reporters after the Thunder owned a 48-34 scoring advantage in the
paint and out-rebounded their opponents 51-47.
"Their inside players are focused on rebounding and they are focused
on defending. When that is your mindset, you really have to lock in
as the opposition and keep them off the glass. We didn't do a good
job of that to start the game."
Durant shot 8-of-14 from the field to go along with seven rebounds
and four assists as six Thunder players scored in doubles figures,
including guard Dion Waiters, who came off the bench to pour in 18
points and grab six rebounds.
Guard Russell Westbrook and forward Serge Ibaka each scored 13
points for Oklahoma City (17-8).
"We feel like we can get into the paint whenever we want," Durant
said. "Our bigs did a good job of rebounding and finishing. We knew
we could get anything we wanted if we were aggressive. In the second
half we did that."
Guard CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 24 points on 9-of-18
shooting. Guard Damian Lillard added 20 points and Plumlee scored 14
points in the loss.
"Oklahoma City played a very good game," Portland coach Terry Stotts
said. "They were aggressive offensively. Aggressive under the
boards, aggressive in the paint and we were kind of behind them the
McCollum had the Thunder on their heels to start the game. He lit
them up for 12 points in the first eight minutes, and he and Lillard
combined to score 21 points in the first quarter.
The Thunder responded with a balanced scoring attack. Even though
none of them hit double figures in the first half, six players
scored at least six points as Oklahoma City took a 52-45 halftime
[to top of second column]
"I thought the first 21 minutes of that first half we played really
well," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.
"They are a hard team to guard with McCollum and Lillard and their
range and their ability to shoot it. I really thought our guys did a
good job defensively tonight."
The second half was all about Oklahoma City's defense. After the
fast start by Portland's backcourt, Lillard and McCollum were held
to just eight points in the third quarter.
That left scoring duties to Plumlee but Thunder centers Steven Adams
and Nick Collison took turns getting physical with him and keeping
him off the boards.
With the Thunder leading by 21 points at the end of the third
quarter, the Oklahoma City starters were done for the rest of the
"We are not a soft team," Plumlee said. "We will be ready next time.
Nobody likes take a loss like this but luckily we get to play them
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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