Lillard and the Trail Blazers host the Thunder

Lillard and the Trail Blazers host the Thunder

Rip City is returning home after a very impressive, previously dreaded seven-game road trip, where they finished 5-2 over five Eastern Conference playoff teams. The Thunder were able to choose any Blazer to shoot two free throws, and Skal Labissiere - who hadn't played in the game - missed both. With Nurkic unavailable to shoot free throws, Thunder coach Billy Donovan had the option to choose any player on Portland's active roster to shoot instead.

Westbrook scored 37 points and George tallied 32 points as the Thunder swept the season series against the Trail Blazers by winning all 4 games.

The game got heated at times as Westbrook and George both had run-ins with Portland's Nurkic.

George appeared to elbow Nurkic, who was knocked to the floor as Terrance Ferguson made a layup that put the Thunder up 113-111. Westbrook was penalized with a flagrant foul, but Nurkic was called for a technical foul for tripping the 2017 MVP a few moments earlier.

After a pair of called timeouts, Nurkic found himself battling in the paint for a rebound. It was Nurkic's second of the game, which meant automatic ejection.

McCutchen further cited the need for referees to withstand the differing dynamics that result from when during the season a game is played - including whether it's in the playoffs - and how that could lower the bar on how games are called. Lillard and George shot 20 free throws apiece, surpassing their career-high marks for attempts.

Nurkic was then fouled by George as they attempted to grab the rebound following a miss by Damian Lillard at the other end of the court. He's also swatted a shot in three straight games, the second time he's done so this season. "I'd be the first one to say I'm wrong, but it was clearly a goaltending [on Nurkic for grabbing the rim] before anything ever happened". But wait! In a freakish twist, OKC fouled Al-Farouq Aminu as they fought for the rebound and Aminu was awarded two more free throws. "It was just too much".

In the extra session, Nurkic's absence loomed large. The Thunder went repeatedly at Blazers backup Enes Kanter with pick-and-rolls, outscoring Portland 16-8 in overtime to win going away.

Damian Lillard leads Portland into a matchup against Oklahoma City. I guess it's on me.

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