NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Portland 25 30 32 27 114
Oklahoma City 25 37 31 30 123
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , January 22, 2019
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  Attendance: 18,203

Pass-happy Blazers take on sharpshooting Thunder

According to STATS
According to STATS

Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. Portland has won three consecutive games and seven of its last nine, averaging 117.6 points. After averaging 109.1 points while shooting 45.9 percent from the field in December, the team is averaging 116.4 points this month, shooting 47.8 percent from the field.
  2. The Thunder have lost four of their last six at home, allowing at least 110 points in five of those games. In their first 15 home games, they went 12-3, allowing at least 110 points five times.
  3. Oklahoma City beat Portland, 111-109, on January 4 after the Blazers won six straight in the series. Of those seven games, five have been decided by five or fewer points.
  4. Jusuf Nurkic is averaging career highs in points (15.0), rebounds (10.4) and assists (3.3) this season. The last Blazers player to average a line of 15.0/10.0/3.0 in a season (minimum 30 games) was Arvydas Sabonis in 1997-98 (16.0/10.0/3.0).
  5. Paul George has recorded back-to-back 30-point games, both on the road. He is averaging 28.2 points on the road this season compared to 25.2 at home, but he is shooting better from the field at home (45.2) compared to on the road (43.7).
  6. Portland's bench is shooting 37.1 percent from three this season, third best in the league behind San Antonio (41.5) and Golden State (37.9). Oklahoma City's bench is shooting 30.8 percent from beyond the arc, third worst in the NBA.
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

A big part of the Portland Trail Blazers' recent success was encapsulated in a play midway through the third quarter of their 109-104 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday in Salt Lake City.

In the lane, Jusuf Nurkic stuck up both hands and knocked the ball away from Jazz center Rudy Gobert for a steal that was forced because Gobert couldn't find any room to shoot against Trail Blazers center.

Nurkic immediately raced up the court, where he took a feed from CJ McCollum and finished.

Nurkic's strong play lately and Portland's ball movement have been two big keys in the Blazers winning nine of their past 12 games entering a Tuesday night road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On Monday, Nurkic had 22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six blocked shots. He had four blocks in what wound up being the decisive third quarter against the Jazz, including three in a 1:12 span just before the steal from Gobert.

"We know how hard it is going to be to win on the road in this conference," Nurkic said. "It's going to be tight."

The Blazers handed out 30 assists Monday, the second consecutive game they reached that figure, well above their season average of 22.5. They have recorded 25 or more assists in 10 of their past 12 games, and they are 14-3 this season when they have at least 25 assists.

A big part of Portland's recent success sharing the ball is point guard Damian Lillard. He is averaging 25 points and eight assists over the last two games.

The Blazers produced 30 assists to the Thunder's 18 in the teams' first meeting of the season, on Jan. 4 in Portland, but Oklahoma City emerged with a 111-109 victory. Paul George scored 37 points, and Russell Westbrook added 31 points.

For much of the season, the Thunder has struggled from behind the 3-point arc, including shooting just 32 percent (8 of 25) in the first meeting with Portland. Lately, though, Oklahoma City has shown signs of turning those struggles around.

Over the past six games, the Thunder are shooting 41.2 percent from behind the arc, averaging 14 makes per game. They sank 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) of their 3-point tries Monday in a 127-109 road win over the New York Knicks.

In the season's first 40 games, Oklahoma City was shooting 32.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc while averaging 9.7 treys per game.

Backup point guard Dennis Schroder has been a part of that improvement. On Monday at New York, Schroder was 4 of 7 from behind the arc.

"It's big time," Thunder guard Abdel Nader told The Oklahoman of Schroder's shooting. "It makes our offense run smoother. Guys have got to respect him more shooting. They can't go under on pick-and-rolls. The defense, our energy picks up. I don't care what anyone says, anytime you make some shots, your defense picks up a little bit, too."

The Tuesday game marks the start of a three-game homestand for Oklahoma City while the Blazers will be playing the middle contest of a three-game road trip.

The Thunder figure to be without guard Alex Abrines for the 15th consecutive game. Abrines has been out with first an illness and then for personal reasons. On Monday, he suited up and was on the bench for the first time since Dec. 23, though Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said he didn't expect to play Abrines at least until the Thursday game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 22, 2019

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