----- Paul George and Russell Westbrook combined for 69 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder top the Portland Trail Blazers 129-121 in overtime Thursday night at Moda Center.
Damian Lillard was sensational scoring 51 points on Thursday night, but it wasn't enough to propel the Trail Blazers to victory. Russell Westbrook scored 37 points and Paul George added 32 as the Oklahoma City Thunder completed the season-sweep over the Blazers with a 129-121 overtime victory at Moda Center.
Al-Farouq Aminu forced overtime when he sank two free throws to tie the game at 113 with 2.9 seconds on the clock, but the Thunder responded by doubling-up the Blazers 16-8 in the extra period.
The real drama started late in the fourth after Lillard tied the game at 111 with a pair of free throws. Paul George took the ball at the rim and missed a layup but Terrance Ferguson scored with an offensive rebound with 13.1 seconds on the clock to give the Thunder a 113-111 lead. On the play, Paul George struck Jusuf Nurkic in the face with an elbow sending him to the floor but no foul was called on the play. Fans were outraged that the play was never reviewed.
Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, crew chief Ed Malloy said, "Because there wasn't a foul called on the play, there wasn't a trigger to go to replay."
After consecutive timeouts by the Blazers, Jusuf Nurkic collected an offensive rebound off a Lillard miss and was fouled on the play with 4.4 seconds to play. Nurkic and George than became tangled, exchanged words, and Nurk responded by head-butting George. After a visit to the replay booth, both players were given technical fouls and Nurkic was ejected for receiving his second tech of the game. Nurkic was given one in the first half after a scuffle with Russell Westbrook.
With the Nurkic ejection, Thunder coach Billy Donovan got to select which player would take the place of Nurkic at the foul line. He chose Skal Labissiere and he missed both free throws. Aminu was fouled scrambling for the offensive rebound giving him the opportunity to send the game into overtime.
An explanation to the questionable calls in the game can be found here in the Pool Reporter questions that were submitted.
Without Nurkic in the lineup, the Thunder took full advantage of Enes Kanter by exposing his weakness on the defensive end. Before his ejection, Nurkic scored 13 points and pulled down 17 rebounds while providing great rim protection.
Aside from the officiating, the Trail Blazers had their issues on both ends of the floor. The Blazers connected on just 39.4% of their shots from the floor including an abysmal 9-for-41 from three-point range. Portland lacked player movement and ball movement in their offense resulting in just 14 assists on the night.
Oklahoma City won the hustle board pulling down 16 offensive rebounds leading to a 28-16 edge in second chance points.
Up Next- The Trail Blazers host the Phoenix Suns Saturday night at Moda Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM.
Chad's Take- Kiss the three seed goodbye.