McCollum scores 28 as Trail Blazers beat Thunder 108-100
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum drives to the basket on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, March 3, 2018. The Blazers won 108-100. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — CJ McCollum scored 28 points, Damian Lillard had 20 and the Portland Trail Blazers won their sixth straight game Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) with a 108-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Rookie forward Zach Collins added 12 points for the Blazers, part of a close cluster in the Western Conference standings that includes the Thunder, Spurs and Timberwolves.
Russell Westbrook had 30 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City, but the loss snapped a three-game winning streak. Paul George added 21 points.
The Blazers led by 10 early in the fourth quarter but Westbrook converted a three-point play after Pat Connaughton was called for goaltending, pulling the Thunder to 95-90. Westbrook's jumper got Oklahoma City even closer with 3:58 to go.
Collins' three-pointer put Portland up 102-93 with 2:23 left, but Westbrook answered with his own triple and Jerami Grant added a layup to trim the Thunder's deficit to 102-98. After Lillard made free throws, Westbrook airballed a three-pointer and Portland closed it out at the foul line.
The Thunder rested Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging 16.9 points per game, after defeating the Suns 124-116 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) in Phoenix. Patrick Patterson started in his place.
Corey Brewer played for the Thunder even though he had not yet practiced with the team. The 6'9" guard was formally signed by Oklahoma City on Friday (Saturday, PHL time).
Brewer, an 11-year NBA veteran, averaged 3.7 points in 54 games this season with the Lakers, who agreed to a buyout with him on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).
"I've got confidence in him. I know him as a player and a person. He's very smart and cerebral and he'll be able to figure things out as he's going," said Thunder coach Billy Donovan, who also coached Brewer at the University of Florida.
Brewer made his Thunder debut in the first quarter and played 12 minutes with a rebound and an assist.
The Blazers were without starter Maurice Harkless, who was out with a left patellar tendon strain. Harkless was hurt in Thursday night's (Friday, PHL time) 109-99 victory over the Timberwolves. Evan Turner started in his place.
The Thunder led 28-25 going into the second quarter but Portland grabbed a 34-33 lead on Shabazz Napier's three-pointer. McCollum's putback and Jusuf Nurkic's layup extended the Blazers' advantage to 44-35.
There was a dustup late in the half when Nurkic and Steven Adams got tangled up before exchanging words. After a video review, Nurkic was called for a common foul but Westbrook got a deadball technical.
The Blazers led 53-50 at the break. Westbrook led all scorers with 14 points.
Patterson's three-pointer pulled the Thunder briefly in front, 60-59, but Portland led 83-75 going into the final period.
Portland has won three of the four meetings between the teams this season, giving the Blazers a potential tiebreaker for playoff seeding.
Portland has won five straight overall against the Thunder and eight in a row at Moda Center.
Thunder: Assistant coach Maurice Cheeks was the head coach of the Blazers from 2001-05.
Trail Blazers: Lillard has made at least one three-pointer in 45 straight games, setting a franchise record.
The Thunder host the Houston Rockets on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time).
The Trail Blazers visit the Lakers on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) for a quick one-game road trip. Los Angeles has won five straight.