Oklahoma City Thunder: 3 takeaways from crushing Game 4 loss vs. Blazers

Oklahoma City Thunder: 3 takeaways from crushing Game 4 loss vs. Blazers

It was all about the Blazers as they snared the 111-98 victory that pushed the Thunder within a game of elimination in the best-of-seven series. The OKC Thunder had Kevin Durant at the time, and it was thought that the series was over.

Here are the key takeaways from the game. They have been unstoppable all series and Sunday night was no different. He's no longer a volume shooting guard, he's turned into the ideal leader for the Blazers. Klay Thompson hadn't played poorly through the first three games of the Warriors' first-round playoff series with the Clippers, he'd played impressive defense and averaged 13.7 points on 44.4 percent shooting.

The high-energy point guard made five of his first 11 shots from the field, the last one a 26-foot 3-pointer that gave OKC a 46-39 lead with 2:31 left in the first half. A number of times, Lillard and McCollum were vocal with teammates, once pulling forward Zach Collins aside for an animated conversation after the second-year player was called for defensive three seconds. They expect an even more desperate Thunder team, especially after Westbrook's flat performance. A 21-6 run in the third quarter turned a 58-54 deficit into a 79-60 hole: Oklahoma City didn't get closer than seven with 1:31 to play in the game.

The lid was glued onto the basket as it seemed every shot from the Thunder rattled around before bouncing out. Moe Harkless contributed 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

The ice cold display saw the Blazers lead extend from four points out to 11.

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Portland outshot the Thunder 41 percent to 38 percent overall from the field.

Westbrook relied heavily on his jump shot, taking only three shots in the paint in Game 4 and missing all three.

Westbrook and Lillard have, in their own ways, made themselves the central story of this matchup and Game 4 went firmly to Lillard. Westbrook - drawing inspiration from the nearby Bricktown district - missed his final 10 shots to finish 5 for 21, going 0 for 7 for the second half. Teams are often unable to stop Westbrook once he gets to the rim, where he shot a career-best 65 percent this season.

For an approximate eight-minute stretch in the fourth quarter - from the 8:22 mark to when only 35.7 seconds remained - the Thunder played with a lineup of George, Westbrook, Dennis Schroder, Terrence Ferguson and Jerami Grant.

Yesterday's loss leaves the Thunder just one defeat away from their 2018/19 season being over, with Adams potentially emerging as a scapegoat for their current predicament. The lineup was an attempt to trap the Blazers' guards, force turnovers and score quickly in transition. After Jusuf Nurkic was injured, the Thunder were the popular pick in the series, but the Blazers were undeterred. While this lineup was on the floor, Portland only committed three turnovers, which only led to a combined three points, and knocked down all of their nine free-throw attempts.

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