Despite Paul George looking more like his old self, the Oklahoma City Thunder were unable to pick up a road win and as a result, saw their NBA Finals chances take a solid hit. George put up a very respectable 27 points on 11-20 shooting but didn’t get much help from anyone else. Westbrook posted a near triple-double with a 14/11/9 state line but was an atrocious 5-20 from the field.
On the other hand, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum showed up to play and single-handedly embarrassed the Thunder. Lillard poured in 29 while McCollum dropped 33 as the two put up box plus/minuses of +27 and +23 respectively. Mo Harkless was the only other Blazer to even reach double digits despite the Blazers putting up a hefty 114 points.
Shooting will likely be a bit tougher for Lillard and McCollum away from their home crowd and the Thunder will need to show up in a big way for game three. The Thunder will need big performances from both Westbrook and George, who have both been hit or miss so far. While George claims to finally be back at full health, which should help him build on his strong play tonight, Westbrook simply needs to be more consistent. Adams has been very solid down low but at the end of the day, the offense is built to flow through Westbrook and George.
Latest Thunder NBA Finals Chances After Game 2 Playoff Loss
Heading into the night, FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO Projection gave the Oklahoma City Thunder only a 7% chance to make the NBA Finals and a dismal 2% chance to win the title. Despite being tied up at 54 heading into the half, the Thunder would fall apart in the second half and fall into a 0-2 hole heading back home for game three in Oklahoma City.
After the loss to the Blazers, the CARMELO Projection moved the Thunder down to just a 5% chance to make the Finals and a 1% chance to win the title. The Thunder are now in a position where they cannot afford to make a mistake and drop a game at home. Any home loss in their next two games likely spells the end of the road for the Thunder and they must even the series up heading back home.
Thunder NBA Playoff Path
Should the Thunder somehow find their way out of their first-round matchup with the Blazers, they get the winner of a surprisingly exciting Nuggets-Spurs series. Although the Nuggets are the far superior team on paper, Gregg Popovich is an unparalleled coaching mind and showed why you cannot count the Spurs out in a seven-game series as they upset the Nuggets at home in game one.
If they make it past the winner of the Nuggets-Spurs series, they would almost certainly run into the Golden State Warriors (or possibly Houston Rockets) in the Western Conference Finals. Although the Warriors dropped a home game to the Clippers early on, they are still unquestionably the best team in basketball. If anything the DeMarcus Cousins injury might actually make them a better team in the long run and allow them to rely more heavily on the dangerous “death lineup” than they previously expected to.