OKLAHOMA CITY – It was a business trip to Portland Trail Blazers. And the company is good.
Portland's approach to Sunday evening's pivotal game 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder was a textbook approach to a team that was harassed and defeated by the home team only two days earlier,
"We were very business, said Portland Coach Terry Stotts after his team's 111-98 victory that it was a victory away from winning the series. "We took care of our business. I think, as I told the team, we should be worried about us and I thought we were playing the way we needed to play. And there really wasn't much – as we talked about yesterday – some of the peripheral things. I liked the way we approached the game through. "
But all this started at the end of the regular season, when Jusuf Nurkic lost to a broken leg, and CJ McCollum went down with knee injury. building trust and trust in his teammates.
Instead of taking more of a burden, he got several teammates involved and made them help him carry the load.
The results have been spectacular and is the reason why for all Lillard's on-court talents, his leadership can be his most valuable asset.
"We were put in a position where we had to lean on each other and trust each other," said lillard . "And it was great for our team. We had to lean on each other and develop trust and the trust we might have with each other. Our team was together and really believed in each other. Then come into this series, it's not new to us.
"We just got the job done. As a coach we said we had a business mentality.
" It was the first time that after Game 3 we were in the dressing room and said, "They were in the free kick" and All these things. [1
"I was proud that we could hold on to it and actually get it done. And much of it was because of what we had been through in the usual season and how we came together. "
Thunder went on a solid start, but Blazers headed with two after the first quarter. Portland trailed with seven points by two and a half minutes back in the first half, but ended with a 11-0 round.
It was Significantly, because Lillard was only 2-8 off the pitch and had only seven points at half .. 19659002] "I loved it," said Lillard. "Whenever we can be on the road, playing a really good team and not playing well and have not scored the ball and we bring it deep into a game, it is a good situation. "
" All I need to do is watch it go at once. And it can be three or four or five. "
Of course he saw lots of them go into the second half when he finished with 24 points and 4-8 from three point range.
CJ McCollum was stuck all night with Lillard, he was 5-9 on Three and scored 27 and hit a few big triples early in the fourth quarter when Lillard rested.
The second half belongs to Blazers at both ends of the court, Russell Westbrook held to one point and three helps after half an hour and the thunder ended scored in paint 36-22, OKC made only 11 of his 30 shots in this area.
McCollum was asked about the development of his team this season.
"I think we are much more mature," said McCollum. "We understood what we wanted to achieve tonight. We had several discussions about it. If they do not have a black and gray shirt, do not talk to them. Talk to our team only. Don't talk to refs.
"Complete our game plan and let's get out of here with a victory."
McCollum doesn't cut words when he talks about his team's motivation.
"We got swept last year," he said. "Everyone talked about it. We were on TV every day. They talked about sweeping, they talked about being acted, they talked about how we (Lillard and McCollum) can't win together."
McCollum was asked about the challenge they had to face in Tuesday's game 5 in Moda Center vs. Thunder.
"We're not worried about the thunder," he said. "We are worried about Blazers. We need to play our game plan. We have to stick to what we have done, screw it up in a notch. We need to be at home, we face a desperate team facing for elimination.
"We just have to focus on ourselves, focus on how we can perform and how we can turn down images, how we can strengthen each other. And then defensively, remain locked in. "
In other words, just keep your business.