NORMAN — The more things change, the more they stay the same for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In Game 1, two days earlier, they hardly led at at Moda Center. In Game 2, they led the Portland Trail Blazers by 10 points in the second quarter.
Once again, they simply could not shoot the ball, following Sunday’s 5 of 33 effort from 3-point range with Tuesday night’s 5 of 28 showing.
The Trail Blazers took a 2-0 series lead via a 124-114 victory.
It was the third quarter, when Portland took full control after the two teams were tied 54-54 at the half, that everything went wrong for the Thunder.
While Portland netted six 3-pointers, Oklahoma City countered with eight turnovers.
The Blazers’ Damian Lillard canned a 3-pointer with a minute left in the frame to expand Portland’s lead into double figures, 85-73. He followed with a quarter-ending buzzer-beating 3 that made it 91-75.
In the final frame, the Thunder hardly challenged, not once bringing the deficit back to single digits.
In one sequence, OKC netted eight points in three possessions, finally appearing to find a rhythm.
However, at the same time, Portland answered with points each time and kept scoring when the Thunder failed.
The lead only ballooned.
The Thunder had not failed to shoot at least 20 percent from beyond the 3-point arc even once the entire regular season. In the playoffs, they’ve done it twice.
Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan threw in the towel with 3 1/2 minutes remaining, emptying his bench.
Paul George led the Thunder with 27 points on 11 of 20 shooting, but he made just 2 of 7 from 3-point land.
Next was Steven Adams with 16 points. Russell Westbrook finished with 14, 11 assists and nine rebounds, making 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.
“Starting with myself, I’ve got to play better,” Westbrook said. “And tonight, the loss, I’m going to take full responsibility for tonight. Because the way I played was unacceptable. I’m going to be better, so I’m not worried one bit. My job is to make sure I continue to come out and will and lead our guys and make sure we have a chance to win the game.”
C.J. McCollum led Portland with 33 points. Lillard was next with 29.
Game 3 tips off at 8:30 p.m. tonight in Oklahoma City.