3 key takeaways from Blazers’ loss to Thunder

Peter Sampson
5 Min Read

The Portland Trail Blazers were got run out of the gym 134-91 by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night – here’s what you need to know

The Portland Trail Blazers were blown out at home by the Oklahoma City Thunder 134-91 on Sunday night. Portland struggled to compete in any facet of the game, while the Thunder used exceptionally hot shooting to get the easy win. Here are three takeaways from a game that saw the deep bench play the entire fourth quarter for both teams.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 28 points before heading to the bench in the third quarter, and he got them with ease. Alexander was 10-13 from the floor – able to score on a variety of layups and interior moves.

Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups on Alexander after the game, “Some of the layups frustrated me. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a really easy 28. All layups, man. All layups. A team’s that hot from three and then you give them layups too.”

Of course, no one in the NBA can truly stop Alexander. That’s why he averages nearly 30 points per game. But the Blazers struggled off the screen-and-roll all evening, and Alexander had his way in one-on-one situations.

It’s not effort, it’s injuries

Despite the fact that the Blazers dropped their seventh straight game on Sunday night, Billups does deserve credit that the team hasn’t quit. It would be easy to assume that the effort isn’t there based on Sunday’s final score, but the Blazers are generally playing hard. They just don’t have the manpower to legitimately hang with most teams in the NBA on any given night. Already expected to be a lottery team, missing Anfernee Simons, Malcom Brogdon, Scoot Henderson, and Robert Wiliams III is going to make it all but impossible to hang close for a full 48 minutes.

The Blazers fourth quarter lineup tonight featured Kris Murray, Ryan Rupert, Duop Reath, Justin Minaya, and Jamaree Bouyea. All five players have suited up for the team’s G-League squad this year.

But still, Billups wouldn’t blame effort, saying “I haven’t sat up here one time at all this year and talked about effort for our team and, honestly, I’m not going to start tonight. I don’t think we had a night where we didn’t compete. I just think their shot-making really deflated us.”

Sunday’s game was the Blazers’ first look at Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren, and he didn’t disappoint. Holmgren scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds on a perfect shooting night. It felt like he could’ve scored 30 if he needed to, but Holmgren only played 20 minutes due to the nature of the game. The Blazers had complimentary things to say about Holmgren after seeing him in action for the first time.

Blazers forward Jerami Grant appreciated his skill set, saying “He’s good. He’s a unique player. Seven feet, stretch the court. Able to shoot but also drive.”

Billups shared his thoughts as well, “He’s going to be a special, special player with his skillset and size. He has a competitiveness about him that I like too. He’s pretty tough out there. He’ll make a play, and he’ll talk a little bit on the court. I like that, I really like that. So, they’re going to be able to move him around from the five to the four. You can do so many things with him. He’s going to be an incredible, incredible player in this league.”

Up next – the Blazers visit Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night in an In-Season Tournament game.

Peter Sampson clutchpoints.com

2023-11-20 06:18:00 , "things to do phoenix when:1d" – Vivrr Local

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