If the Portland Trail Blazers didn't lose a heart-shattering overtime game to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night—they did, the score was 107-106 in favor of the visiting team—it still would have been a really bad day for the franchise. In a period of a few hours leading up to Thursday's game—the very same game that was dedicated to the death of Blazers icon Maurice Lucas—Portland lost rookie Elliot Williams for the season with a dislocated right patella (the injury du jour for the Blazers), then bid farewell to Fabricio Oberto, who hung up his jersey for good citing a heart condition. A little more salt was tossed in the Blazers' wound when Rudy Fernandez bowed out of last night's game when his reoccurring back problem flared up once again.
Even the old gypsy woman that has cursed the Blazers probably feels sorry for them right about now.
As for the game, it was thrilling. Especially the part where Portland overcame an early disadvantage to build up a 13 point lead in the third quarter. Not so thrilling was the part where the Blazers became overly cautious, then ice cold, in the final minutes. This allowed for the Thunder to muscle their way back into the game, and eventually control the pace down the final stretch. The Blazers' stand-by offensive procedure for games like this—give Brandon Roy the ball and stay the hell out of his way—failed (twice) in the waning seconds and game went to overtime. It was there that things went wrong. And slowly.
After 4:19 of the extra period the Thunder had scored all of three points, the Blazers, well, they had zero. There were forced shots, airballs, and more than a few possessions butchered by bad passing. As the clock expired, Armon Johnson (who, once again, looked great for a late round rookie in only his sixth game) was unable to hit the mythical four point "unicorn shot"—despite what TNT's Kevin Harlan thinks—as the final buzzer sounded.
With six players scoring in double figures the boxscore sure was impressive, but the results might be devastating for the Blazers if the team doesn't bounce back in a big way against the lowly Toronto Raptors (That should not be a problem, their best player is named Andrea. I am serious.) on Saturday. If that game turns out anything like this—it probably won't—there might be a problem. Until then, let's just hope the Blazers roster doesn't get any more depleted between now and then.