Blazers Too Much For Visiting Thunder
Carmelo Anthony was in Portland Sunday night. But rather than filling the lanes with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, Anthony was doing his best to stop the dynamic Blazers backcourt with his new team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Lillard and McCollum openly recruited Anthony this summer as the former Knick looked for new opportunities after a tumultuous and mostly underwhelming run in New York. In the end it was not meant to be, as Anthony ended up a division rival rather than a Rip City teammate.
As it turns out, the Blazers didn’t need Anthony’s fire power, defeating Oklahoma City 103-99 and grabbing a crucial early season division win. Lillard led the way with 36 points and 13 assists. His exploits earned him “MVP” chants late in the game from the Portland faithful and Lillard acknowledged the love from the fan base.
“It felt great to hear.” Lillard said of the praise. “I don’t always feel appreciated, but not here.”
McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic finished with 22 and 25 points respectively, showing yet again that Portland’s Big Three can be formidable when healthy.
Noah Vonleh turned in another solid performance. Although he ended the night with just one point, he grabbed eight rebounds and provided a solid defensive presence throughout the night.
Paul George led the Thunder, ending the night with 27 points. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook finished with 25 and Raymond Felton steadied the Thunder with 15 points on 7-11 shooting off the bench.
As for Anthony, turns out he was not long for this world. He was ejected midway through the third quarter as his contact at the rim with Portland’s Nurkic was deemed a Flagrant 2. He finished the evening with just 15 points.
The Blazers improve to 6-4 on the season with the win, good for second in the Northwest Division. They will next host the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.