Late Free Throws Sink Blazers, 111-109
Paul George bailed out Oklahoma City on Friday night in Portland with two free throws to go up four with 4.3 seconds on the clock. The Trail Blazers got a meaningless bucket at the horn to make the final score 111-109 for a Thunder win.
Portland trailed by 10 points with four minutes to go in the game, but clawed to within two points with under a minute to play. After a Russell Westbrook miss, the Blazers raced down court and both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum missed game-tying shots.
The Blazers fouled George–who led the game in scoring with 37 points–while OKC still led by two. George usually struggles with clutch moments in his career, but he cashed in both free throws–as mentioned–to put the Thunder up four with under five seconds to play.
Lillard brought the scoring for Portland with a team high 23 points with Jusuf Nurkic close behind with 22 points of his own. Nurkic also grabbed eight rebounds and snagged three steals with an assist and a blocked shot.
McCollum struggled again from the floor shooting four-of-15, and he also made just two-of-six from three point land to finish with 10 points. Al-Farouq Aminu and Jake Layman, who came in off the bench, outscored McCollum. Aminu finished with 16 points (and 15 rebounds), while Layman found 11 points in just 12 minutes of action.
Next up for Portland is Saturday night in the Moda Center against the Houston Rockets and a crazy-hot-scoring James Harden. In case you missed it, Harden has scored 40-plus points in five straight games and at least 30 points in his last 11 games.