The Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves in an interesting position. The Thunder are down 0-2 to the Portland Trailblazers. On Tuesday, the Thunder lost to the Blazers 114-94.
The Thunder are the no. 6 seed of the West and the Blazers are third in the Western Conference. The Blazers have the homecourt advantage due to being the better seed. The Blazers have played well and have taken advantage of their home court by winning the first two games of the series.
For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook neared a triple-double with 14 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. Westbrook also had six turnovers and shot 25 percent from the field. This is a significant difference from his performance in Game 1. In Game 1, Westbrook had a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. He also shot 47.1 percent from the field. Westbrook’s performance in Game 2 played a big part in the Thunder’s loss. In fact, Westbrook took responsibility for the loss. After Game 2, he spoke with the media about his lackluster performance.
“Starting with myself, I’ve got to play better. Westbrook said, Tonight, we lost, and I’m going to take full responsibility of that because the way I played was unacceptable and I’m going to be better. I’m not worried one bit. My job is to make sure I continue to come out and lead our guys and make sure we have a chance to win a game.”
Westbrook struggled in Game 2 but his teammate Paul George had a decent showing. George finished the game with 27 points and eight rebounds. George also had 26 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1. He is playing well despite being in pain. His shoulder continues to bother him but he continues to play. At this rate, the Thunder need George if they want to win the series. But, if George aggravates the injury, the Thunder could miss him in the second round. So, the Thunder find themselves in a predicament.
In Game 2, Westbrook was not the only player to struggle. As a team, the Thunder shot 17.9 percent from 3-point range. In Game 1, the team shot 15.2 percent from 3-point range. Thunder head coach Billy Donovan realizes that 3-point shooting is a problem for his team. Donovan spoke with the media about his intention to resolve the issue.
”For the most part, I think we got fairly decent looks and we’re going to have to take them,” Donovan said. ”As the ball gets driven downhill, and teams bring help and protect the rim, you just can’t force the ball in there and take tough, ill-advised shots. And when the ball gets sprayed back out to the perimeter and guys are open, it’s hard to say, `OK, just drive it right back to the help again and hope they move out of the way.”
Game 3 of this series takes place on Friday. The Thunder return home for the next two games, which gives them an opportunity to win. The 0-2 lead is difficult to overcome but it is not impossible. If the Thunder win a game at home, it could the start of their comeback. Are the Thunder in trouble? The answer is yes. But, a win at home can help them turn things around.
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