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Game 3 Recap: Portland 83, Oklahoma City 74

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Yahoo! Sports Box Score:

The tagline for this game should be, "If all else fails, get fouled!". That's pretty much all I saw. Everybody immediately wants to chalk this up to bad shooting and call it one of the worst games the Thunder has played. But I think this game was one of beauty. It was one where both teams played such excellent defense that nobody could score. Nobody could penetrate the lane easily. Nobody could get an open shot. It was just two excellent defensive teams going at it, and when a basket was actually scored, it was usually something to behold. Games like this haven't been seen often since the 1980s, so when they actually do happen, I try to treasure them for what they are, not criticize everybody on the team for having a horrible night.

This is the type of game where you'd expect Russell Westbrook to flourish, and in a sense, he did, scoring 23 points on 8-12 Shooting, grabbing 4 Rebounds, dishing 2 Assists, Stealing it twice, and Blocking 2 shots. Nonetheless, he eliminated all the good he did by fouling out and having 9 turnovers. If I was Anne robinson, the mean British woman from The Weakest Link, I might find a few choice things to say about Russell Westbrooks performance. Deplorable? Pathetic? Speaking of Britain, the Thunder Girls apparently appeared on Blue Peter this summer. The Morning Animals asked if it was like Britians version of Late Night with David Letterman, and they confirmed this fact. Except, Blue Peter is not a late night talk show. It's a kids show. More like Reading Rainbow than anything else. Okay, that's enough about the Thunder and Britain. I promise.

Everybody has immediately jumped on the train of thought that we lost this game because of Kevin Durant and his 3-21 shooting. Well, that's somewhat right, but somewhat wrong. A lot of his missed shots were attempts to get the ball down the lane and get fouled. Sadly, he's not as good at that as Brandon Roy, or a guy like Kevin Martin who we've seen earlier. He's good at getting it down there, but he can't do it all game, and he definitely needs to step out to mid-range and the 3 point line in order to be completely effective. But, his performance wasn't that bad considering he made 10 free throws, which is 5 shots, which amounts to a 8-21 night. Jeff Green had a similar problem, but on a smaller scale.

Meanwhile, out of all of the Role Players, guess who had the best game. Comeon, just guess. Nope, it's Etan Thomas! 9 Rebounds, 4 Points, 50% Shooting, and 1 Block. You can't ask much more of him. Since his performance was the only one without flaws, I'm giving him the Thunder Wonder award tonight. No joke! And, Jeff Green grabs the Thunder Down Under Award, for being not totally terrible. And, the Thunder Blunder goes to Russell Westbrook. No kidding.

On the TrailBlazers side of things, they played a much more team oriented game, and I bet they're glad to come out of the Ford Center with a much-needed win. Greg Oden was a beat in the paint with 12 and 10, Steve Blake dominated from 3 point range, and Roy, Webster, and Outlaw all had okay scoring nights. Nevertheless, you've got to give the Thunder Plunderer to Steve Blake, who hit the 3 Points Daggers when they most mattered.

As a short note, David Franzoni has taken over my old blog, Blue Blitz. I'm glad to see someone took over my old site, and I'm sure he'll do a good job. Check him out.

Next Game: Versus the Lakers, Tuesday, November 3rd at 7PM Central Standard Time.