3 takeaways after OKC Thunder break five-year hoodoo against Portland 111-109

OKC Thunder (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Paul George (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder played arguably their best game of the year in a 111-109 defeat of the Blazers. Here’s how they did it.

The OKC Thunder played one of the best games they had all season and snapped their eight-game losing streak against the Portland Trailblazers in a thrilling 111-109 victory on Friday night. Behind Paul George’s second consecutive 37 point game and the Thunder’s brick-wall of a defense, they overcame Jusuf Nurkic‘s 22 points to beat the Blazers.

Like a lot of OKC games they dug themselves into a hole in the first half, at one point finding themselves down by 11 points before making some progress and heading into halftime down 62-57.

They came out firing in the second half and only lost the lead once for the rest of the game. The Thunder were up by as much as ten points late in the fourth quarter before almost blowing the game. A big part of that second-half comeback was their defense–led momentarily by Nerlens Noel–finding a way to hold Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Nurkic to just 6-25 shooting after the break.

A bigger part of their comeback, however, was George and Westbrook combining to score 68 points on the night and picking up the slack when OKC’s role players weren’t feeling it offensively.

Though they only ended up winning by two, the defensive effort and offensive explosion from George and Russ were some of the best performances the team as a whole has put up all year.