OKLAHOMA CITY – After their starters hit the bench 40 seconds before the finish, with Game 4 in hand and a 3-1 series in the bag on the way back, the Portland Trail Blazers had the opportunity to join bask 111-98 against the Oklahoma City Thunder win a little. But it was not celebrated, no garbage talked, no ridicule, no fools at the buzzer. It was, as Damian Lillard said, everything from beginning to end.
"After game 3, we were in the locker room, saying that they lived in the free throw line and all that stuff, but in game 4, they are not talking to anyone but ourselves," Lillard said. "Referees can call it what they want to call it, we'll only take care of ourselves."
"After the last game, it was a big deal to get out of the back and forth, and we were not emotional In addition ̵
Lillard, who started with 0 of 6 and made his first shot after 1:15 in the first half, cooked again in the third quarter, scoring 7 points out of 19 plus 24 assists and finishing 24 points. The Guardian CJ McCollum was indispensable to stave off the thunder, scoring 27th out of the 10th out of 20 points 27. Several times both Lillard and McCollum were with teammates Once Zach Collins drew aside for a lively conversation after the player's second year "We are much riper than in previous years," McCollum said, "we can handle adversity." We understood what we wanted to achieve tonight, and we did not want anything Several times we have been discussing that no one has been told anything, if they do not wear a black and gray jersey, do not talk to them, talk to our team, do not talk to me t the speaker, do not talk to the other team. Execute our game plan and let us disappear with the victory from here.
Once again, Lillard and McCollum outperformed Thunder's two stars, with Paul George scoring 32 points in 8-of-21 shooting, while Russell Westbrook was only 14 points out of 21. Westbrook started hot hit early a few 3-points and a pull-up sweater over Lillard in the first quarter, and after meeting him, Westbrook stuck out his tongue and glanced at the Portland bench, he was also aloof, but that perhaps more to do with not having much more opportunities to talk.
Westbrook finished the game 10 shots in a row and scored only one point in the second half in a 0-7 shooting, according to ESPN Stats & Information e worst half-half of Westbrook's career (previously was 0 of 4) against the Clippers in 2014). Westbrook missed at least 15 shots for the 29th time in the playoff career, most in the league for eight years (his first playoff appearance) since 2009/10.
Westbrook relies heavily on his jump and only scores three shots in Game 4 (he missed all three). It's only the second time in Westbrook's playoff career that he has remained goalless in color.
"It was not taken away," Westbrook said, coming to the edge. "I get deep color at all times, but I always play the right game." When I'm in deep color, I find guys around. Beat Steven Adams . My job is to make sure that The Boys Get The Basketball: I do not have to make a layup every time, but I'm in the game, and sometimes that's the case, it's not just shooting attempts to make sure I'm in the defense, and step out to open Shooting. "
The blazers were clearly content to let Westbrook shoot. When Al-Farouq Aminu returned in the middle of the fourth quarter, Blazer's assistant David Vanterpool told him, "Do not help Russ, let him shoot." Later in the quarter, when Westbrook was isolated from the 3-point line and Enes Kanter was guarding him, the entire Blazers bank shouted, "Back up! Back up! Back up!" Westbrook fancied a 3-pointer rattling on and off.
"Midrange jumpers, that's his shot." Sometimes he picks up 3 hands and has only one presence – and those are the shots we make available, I think, "Lillard said. "And we live together with that."
And although Westbrook made his first pair and informed the blazers, the thunder died with them on Sunday.
Game 5 is Tuesday in Portland and The Blazers can eliminate the thunder. As he left the room, Kanter kept repeating, "More, more, more." They expected an even more desperate Thunder team, especially after Westbrook's poor performance.
The blazers have clearly beaten after an embarrassing end to the last season, in which they had shown 10 playoff losses. After the injury of Jusuf Nurkic, the thunder was the most popular choice in the series, but the blazers were unimpressed.
"We do not focus on doubters, we focus on ourselves," said Lillard. "We take the responsibility of our last two playoffs and we moved on, I think that's one of the biggest and one of the best things we've done for ourselves was not sticking to it. Things are going better now, we just have to end it . "