Postgame quotes: Blazers 92, Thunder 87

Official postgame quotes following the Portland Trail Blazers’ 92-87 road victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

Visiting Team Quotes
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers


On tonight’s win:
“It was a gut check for our guys. We have been talking about winning back-to-back games. Just a lot of things we threw out as challenges for our guys. Getting that first game, then winning a back-to-back making this a great road trip. The fact that Oklahoma City was right in front of us, we had an opportunity to close the gap on them. They (Oklahoma City) were playing good basketball, so there were a lot of challenges tonight. We stayed together. I thought Oklahoma City made some runs and this is a tough place to play. Their crowd gives them a lot of energy, very similar to our building. To control that energy, you have to play solid basketball. You can’t give up easy plays.”

On his team’s defense down the stretch”
“We knew they could score. The first thing was to keep them out of transition. In the first half, we turned the ball over more and they were able to get into transition. The second thing was to control the boards, and we did a better job of that in the second half of making them score over the top and not giving them penetration. We needed to keep them off of the free-throw line.”


On the defensive plan on Oklahoma City’s last possession:
“We wanted to switch on all of the pick-and-rolls. I didn’t think he (Durant) would pull up and shoot the three that far away. He did, so that made it easier for me just to get a hand up on his shot.”

On their defensive effort:
“We got into a rhythm. We wanted to force them to shoot with hands in their faces. They had it going heading into the fourth quarter but we were able to figure them out a little bit.”

On winning on the road:
“They are tough, especially trying to fight for position in the playoffs. We have to treat every game like a playoff game and hopefully that will carry over.”


On getting more comfortable playing with Portland:
“I am getting more comfortable playing with the guys. Getting more practices under my belt and everyone getting familiar with each other. Understanding what Nate (McMillan) wants from me and my teammates trusting me on the defensive end. It all seems to be coming together at the right time.”

On the importance of tonight’s win:
“Tonight felt like a playoff game with their crowd. It did even when the Hornets were here a couple years ago. They have a great fan base here. I am excited for this city and it definitely felt like a playoff game.”

Home Team Quotes
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers


Opening statement:
“I thought it was a well-played game. Both teams fought and both teams battled defensively. Both teams had trouble getting an offensive rhythm. Give Portland credit; they came out and made a few plays down the stretch that gave them a chance to break the game open at the very end but I thought our guys played with a lot of energy and a lot of effort. We played hard, we just lost the game.”

On finishing the game:
“We didn’t make shots when we needed to. We were playing a little too much one-on-one. We got to keep moving the ball and keep working on our offensive execution and spacing. We’ve got to continue to work and continue to get better but those possessions are important and we understand when you are finishing up the game in the last five or six minutes that you really need to take care of the basketball and get good shots.”

On approach of theThunder:
“We take each game as our most important game. We go to Philadelphia and we’re going to give all our effort in the shootaround. It’s important that we continue to play hard. It’s not about this being an important game just because it’s against Portland and the playoff positioning…I tell our guys that we all have a job to do for 82 games and we all have to find the effort for all 82 games.”


On the game:
“We lost and any game we lose right now is critical. We played hard and you have to credit Portland, they played phenomenal. They came in the third quarter and really set us back a little bit and grabbed five offensive rebounds. They played well and we have to credit them a lot. We had a chance. We put ourselves in a great position and our defense wasn’t up to par but we still had a chance…We still put ourselves in position to win the game but the shots just didn’t fall.”


On guarding Brandon Roy:
“I just tried to crowd him as much as I could. He has a very quick first step. He gets to the basket but I think our ‘help’ defense was there. This was a very important game for us but we just didn’t come up with the win, but we’ll bounce back.”

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