The Portland Trailblazers are a single win away from advancing into the second round of the NBA playoffs. After defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-98 in Game 4, the Trailblazers became eighth straight team to win a road game to win in the playoffs in the last two days. In fact, the Trailblazers were the last road team to lose a road game on Friday night.
They bounced back due to a brilliant run to end the second quarter. The Thunder led 46-39 with 2:31 left in the half after Russell Westbrook’s 3-pointer. A quick timeout became the ammunition needed for the Trailblazers to get their offense going. They ended the first half on an 11-0 run and a 50-46 lead. Moments earlier, the home crowd was devastatingly loud. By the break, the spectators were noticeably silent.
Once again, the combination of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard accounted for 53 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. The duo punished the Thunder in the second half during the decisive run. However, they also led the charge late in the second quarter.
First, McCollum answered with a 3-pointer of his own. Then, Lillard hit a fadeaway and a 3-pointer to take the lead for good. Al-Farouq Aminu connected on a 3-pointer right before the half to provide a little more cushion. McCollum’s first bucket of the second half was followed by Aminu’s 3-pointer. All of a sudden, the Trailblazers were on a 16-0 run spanning both halves.
Yet, the Blazers didn’t earn a double digit lead until Lillard caught fire. He scored 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter. Lillard’s final shot of the third period gave the Trailblazers their biggest lead of the game at 79-60. However, the Thunder fought back early in the fourth.
Oklahoma City used a 10-0 run to get within nine points. Yet, McCollum answered the bell again with a trio of 3-pointers while Lillard sat on the bench. One play included a spectacular steal from Paul George in the open court. Seconds later, McCollum coasted up the court for a pull up three. By the time he was done throwing daggers, the Trailblazers led 97-81. All they had to do was hold on in the final 4:26 of the game.
Paul George bounced back to have a nice scoring game with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. He shot 8 of 21 from the field. Meanwhile, Westbrook finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Jerami Grant scored 11 points. Dennis Schroder came off the bench to score 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting.
In all, the Blazers had five players score in double figures. McCollum led the way with 27 points, while Aminu added 19 points and 9 rebounds, Maurice Harkless scored 15 points and 10 rebounds. Zach Collins came off the bench to score 10 points. Enes Kanter, 8 points and 10 rebounds, was two points shy of a double-double.
Now, the Trailblazers have a (3-1) lead with Game 5 on their home court. Game 5 is set for Tuesday April 23, on TNT. Currently, they are a 3.5 point favorite.