The Run That Became OKC’s Demise


The game that got away.

Through 3+ quarters in game five, the Oklahoma City Thunder had a commanding lead over the Portland Trail Blazers despite Damian Lillard’s 42 points at the time. His dagger from 37 feet would end the series, but the buckets leading up to that may be the bigger story.

At the 7:45 mark in the 4th quarter, Dennis Schröder hit a 25-foot bomb to obtain the largest lead for any team that night. From the start of the fourth, OKC built their 15-point lead with a staggering 15-2 run. Fueled by the dual point lineup of Schröder and Russell Westbrook, the two assisted on several other OKC buckets while Portland failed to take care of the ball and convert open shots.

The Downhill Fall

It all started with Lillard finding a cutting Mo Harkless for two. After a strange foul call on Schröder, CJ McCollum ripped through Westbrook for a floater that started their own six-point mini run. After a missed Paul George three, Dame found a streaking Harkless for a breakaway dunk. Westbrook’s ensuing turnover would make way for another streaking Harkless dunk. With 5:50 to go, OKC’s lead drops to nine.

On Portland’s next possession, a McCollum-Kanter pick and roll left Westbrook guarding Kanter, leading to an easy hook shot. After a Westbrook midrange wouldn’t fall, Lillard rushed down the court for a big pull-up three ball that would shrink the Thunder lead to five. Westbrook answered with a three of his own, but things became tense.

On the other end, PG would pick up his fifth foul leading to two made Harkless free throws. George would make up for it though, using a Jerami Grant screen to finish a tough bucket in the paint bringing their lead back to eight.

After a missed Schroder three, McCollum would take Westbrook off the dribble for a midrange pull-up jumper. A pair of missed PG free throws and a Russ offensive foul only added to several missed opportunities. McCollum’s subsequent floater reduced OKC’s lead to four. A questionable foul call on Westbrook during a routine rebound put Harkless on the line; he hit both shots.

While attempting to split the defense, George would turn the ball over leading to a McCollum deuce. Tie Game. Next possession, Playoff P appears. On the right elbow, one jab step and pull put Oklahoma City back in front.

Lillard answered by splitting Grant and George for an up-and-under scoop layup. Tie game again. Westbrook’s missed layup against Al-Farouq Aminu would be the Thunder’s last shot.

Then the shot heard around the world happened: Lillard pulled up from 37 feet. Bad shot or not, he had one thing on his mind: Game.


The Blazers advance to the Western Conference Semifinals rather prematurely, but OKC now has several questions to answer before October rolls around.


About Allen Pettigrew

Recommended for you

Powered by