Thunder snap 3-game skid, edge Trail Blazers 125-122
By ANNE M. PETERSON
PORTLAND Ore. (AP) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points, Mike Muscala added 23, and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped a three-game losing streak with a 125-122 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
Damian Lillard, who had scored 30 or more points in his last three games, had 26 points and 10 assists for the Blazers. Anfernee Simons had 26 points off the bench and Enes Kanter added 13 points and 22 rebounds.
After Portland pulled close in the third quarter, Hamidou Diallo's floater from out front put the Thunder up 105-98 with just over eight minutes left in the game.
Diallo's layup extended Oklahoma City's lead to 111-100. Carmelo Anthony's 3-pointer got Portland within 117-111 with 3:25 left, but Darius Bazley answered with a 3 for the Thunder.
Lillard hit a 3-pointer with 5.5 seconds left to get Portland within 123-120, then made another 3 to narrow it to 124-122 with 1.5 seconds left, but the rally fell short.
"I think for most of the game we brought good energy, everybody. And we stuck to it," said Muscala, who finished with a career-high six 3-pointers. "I think in the third quarter we came out a little bit flat but we did show that we really played together on both sides of the ball."
Both teams were playing the second of back-to-backs. The Thunder fell 108-100 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, while the Trail Blazers downed the New York Knicks 116-113.
The Thunder continue to miss Al Horford, who has been out since the birth of his daughter on Jan. 15. The team was also without George Hill, who sprained his right thumb and is day-to-day. Theo Maledon started in Hill's place.
Portland was without Robert Covington because of a concussion. The Blazers were already missing starters CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic because of injuries.
"Top to bottom I thought our energy, our competitiveness, our pace and the thrust we played with was sustained throughout the game," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. "Everyone who touched the court tonight brought that type of edge."
Luguentz Dort's driving layup put the Thunder up 32-15 in the opening quarter. The Blazers responded with a 17-2 run to pull within 34-32 after Simons' floater.
Muscala's 3-pointer stretched Oklahoma City's lead to 55-43 midway through the second quarter. Trent made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull Portland within 69-60 at the break.
Lillard opened the second half with a 3-pointer before Trent's 3 tied the game at 72, but the Blazers could not pull in front.
The Thunder led 94-91 going into the final quarter. Anthony's jumper briefly gave the Blazers a 95-94 lead, but it was short-lived.
"Our attention to detail was poor," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "Our first-half defense was pathetic, there's no excuse for that."
Thunder: It was the fourth of a five-game trip. .... It was the first of three games between the Thunder and the Blazers. Last season, the teams split 2-2. ... Muscala's 3-pointer early in the game was the 300th of his career. He finished with 5 3s in the game.
Trail Blazers: Lillard made a franchise record 67 straight free throws, a streak that ended against the Thunder when he missed one in the opening quarter. ... Rodney Hood was a late scratch because of a thigh contusion. ... Derrick Jones Jr. had a quad contusion during the game but returned.
GOTTA BE THE SHOES?
Adidas is releasing a special shoe commemorating Lillard's 50-point performance against the Thunder in the 2019 NBA playoffs. Lillard hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that won the game and clinched the series over Oklahoma City in five games.
Photos of the new shoe - which features Thunder colors - were revealed on social media ahead on Monday night's game. Lillard hinted he wasn't trolling Oklahoma City and that Adidas was creating shoes to recognize all its players that have 50-point games.
"I think I've had other games to choose from," he said. "I'm ready to let that moment go, so that's why I think I would have liked it to be a different game, because I don't want it to come off as I'm just living in the moment from two years ago. Obviously it was a big moment, but it is what it is."
The Thunder wrap up their road trip against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
The Trail Blazers visit the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
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Updated January 26, 2021