Trail Blazers aim to close out Thunder
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The Portland Trail Blazers are known as an offensive team, but their defense has been equally important as they have built a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder have been held under 100 points in each of their three losses. They shot only 37.5 percent in Sunday's 111-98 home loss.
"We need one more game like that," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said as he looked ahead to Tuesday night's Game 5 in Portland.
The Thunder are looking at the possibility of a third straight first-round playoff ouster.
"We're down 3-1," Coach Billy Donovan said. "All we can do now is watch the (video), try to make some corrections and adjustments and get ready for Game 5. I mean, that's really all we can do."
There were plenty of extracurricular activities during Oklahoma City's Game 3 win, but the Blazers were determined not to get caught up in it in Game 4.
"We weren't emotional about it -- we were just competing," said Damian Lillard, who scored 24 points in Game 4 and is averaging 28.8 points in the series. "We were passionate about the game as well (as the Thunder), but we didn't engage in it. Our focus was our team.
"We're not going to go crazy on the referees, get into shouting matches (with the Thunder). We're going to focus on the things we need to do to win the game. I was proud our team stuck with that."
Stotts said he expects that to be the case Tuesday night as well.
"It's good to be going home and having a chance to close them out," he said, "but our demeanor, our approach isn't going to change in Game 5."
Oklahoma City forward Paul George is averaging 26.8 points and 8.5 rebounds in the series but is shooting only 37 percent from the field and 30.8 from 3-point range. Guard Russell Westbrook is averaging 21.3 points, 9.8 assists and 8.3 rebounds but is shooting 36.3 percent from the field and 30.4 from the 3-point line.
The Thunder are shooting 41.3 from the field and 30.8 on 3-point attempts in the series. The Trail Blazers' numbers are 44.1 from the field and an excellent 41.5 from beyond the arc.
What's the solution for the Thunder in Game 5?
"Score more points," George said. "Honestly, that's what we have to do. Defensively, we're going to be locked in. We'll get in the flow. We'll get in the rhythm. The ball will find its way to the hole. We just have to get better.
"Regardless of what the series is, it's always one game at a time. We have to play one game. Give everything in one game, and go to the next. We're down 3-1, but we have to take it one game at a time."
Stotts expects a strong performance by the Thunder on Tuesday night.
"They're pros," he said. "I expect a great effort from them. You lose a game on your homecourt, you're going to be dejected. But I would expect them to bounce back in Game 5."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 22, 2019
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Published: 2015-05-28 13:51:00
Updated: 2016-07-13 10:41:59
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