PHOTO/Getty Images-Zach Beeker
The Thunder came oh so close again but could not hold off a 4th quarter charge from Damian Lillard in losing to the Trail Blazers 102-99.
OKC's four losses have been by a total of just 24 points so they've been in every game and these last two losses came down the the last couple of possessions.
Lillard scored 10 of his 23 points in the 4th quarter hitting three 3s. Long distance sharp shooting kept the Blazers on top as they hit 17 of their 35 attempts (48.6%) while the lack of same (4-for-27, 14.8%) kept the Thunder from jumping ahead.
"Lillard got going there at the end late. Our defense, I thought, was good," said head coach Billy Donovan. "They scored 102. We got to the free-throw line a lot. The biggest difference was, you look at our four to their 17 made threes. We got to the free-throw line quite a bit, which kept it close, but the three-point probably line was the difference, and we just did not shoot it certainly as well as they did or as timely as they did.”
The Thunder shot 13 more free throws than Portland and made 12 more. The Blazers were held to just 39.5% shooting overall but OKC couldn't take much of an advantage shooting just 39.3% overall and 14.8% from deep.
Chris Paul led the Thunder with 21 points he was one of six OKC players in double figures. Nerlens Noel, filling in for Steven Adams who has a bruised knee, once again played very well. Noel scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting while grabbing 14 rebounds.
The Thunder are now 1-4, the same record last season's team had after five games. New Orleans is up next for a rare college football season Saturday afternoon home game.
Tipoff set for 4pm at The Peake.