----- The Trail Blazers improve to 5-2 on the year without Damian Lillard in the lineup as the defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 117-106 Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Don't look now, but the Portland Trail Blazers are now in fifth place in the Western Conference playoff standings after Tuesday's 117-106 win over the Thunder in OKC.
Portland (22-18) got 27 points from CJ McCollum, 20 points and eight rebounds from Jusuf Nurkic, and 21 points from Shabazz Napier as the Blazers shot better than 50% from the field in their third-straight game. The Blazers recent trend of better ball movement and player movement continued tonight with another strong effort from the team without Damian Lillard on the floor. Lillard sat out as he continues to rest his sore calf muscle.
The Blazers used a strong second half to pull away from the Thunder. After a Carmelo Anthony three-pointer gave the Thunder a 60-58 lead with 10:07 to play in the third quarter, the Blazers closed the quarter on a 30-16 run to take a 88-76 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Blazers put the game away with a 12-3 run to open the fourth extending their lead to 100-79.
Oklahoma City (22-19) got 22 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds from Russell Westbrook and 22 points from Paul George, but the Thunder connected on just 44% of their field goal attempts. Portland outscored the Thunder in the paint 46-34.
Next up- The Trail Blazers will travel to Houston for the second of a back-to-back Wednesday night against the Rockets. Game is scheduled to tip off at 5:00 PM.
Chad's take- Damian who? Blazers now 5-2 on the season without Lillard in the lineup.