Billy Donovan

USA Today

Coach Em Up, Munster

Since KD left, this team has gone 3-10 in in the playoffs.

April 17, 2019 - 10:10 am

Portland beating Oklahoma City in Game 1 was big. After losing 10 straight playoff games, they had to have that. Absolutely had to have it. And it was a good moment after a really emotional and painful season for the team. They’ve dealt with the passing of Paul Allen and one tough injury after another. They have a great fanbase, a great coaching staff, and great players. So pretty much everyone around the league had the same reaction to that game one win: that was nice.

They earned it. Good guys, good team, good result. BUT… in the back of everyone’s minds was this: good win, but they can’t keep this up. OKC swept them in the regular season. Portland will come back to Earth. Enes Kanter can’t keep doing that. OKC isn’t going to go 5 for 33 from deep again. But good job, good effort, Portland. But the prevailing thought everywhere outside the Portland locker room was that the Thunder were still the ones to beat in this matchup. 

Then came Game 2 last night. And more specifically the second half. Because what Portland did after halftime was not nice.

It was flat out rude and disrespectful. They outscored OKC 60-40 in the second half. And took that from a tie game to a 114-94 blowout.

Hey Jennifer, they aren’t just trying, they’re doing. That’s two playoffs wins! That’s two for them.

And they did it like a team that has won dozens of playoff games. They knew the Thunder were going to show up in Game 2. They knew the Thunder were going to learn from their mistakes and be aggressive. And that’s exactly what OKC did.

The Thunder were tough and physical. They were barking and jawing, they were trying to take Portland out of their game. Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard got into in the corner. And if the plan was to get Portland rattled, it didn’t work. As CJ McCollum said afterwards: "They're both pit bulls. You've got competitive guys who play hard. Well-known All-Stars, faces of their franchises and the stakes are high, so if you're a competitor, you look forward to these moments and these opportunities to not only put yourself on the map, but your team on the map, as well."

And if you didn’t have Lillard, McCollum, and Portland on your map before last night, you should now. Because they did things like this to close out the half.

Damian Lillard to CJ McCollum. Tie game.

I’m no expert, but I’m going to say the Blazers have a pretty decent backcourt. And they both came to play last night. CJ had 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Dame had 29, 4, and 6. But it felt like even more. Because each guy was absolutely punishing OKC both physically and mentally. Especially in the second half.

In the first half, they weathered the Thunder’s storm. And in the second half, Portland put it to them. Because in the third quarter, they started doing things like this.

Damian. Lamonte. Ollie. Lillard. Senior. If you need him.

My man barely got across half court before he let that fly. And then he did this, going pickpocket on defense and finding Seth Curry on the break.

And did you catch that right after the three? If you’re watching, you might’ve seen it and if you’re listening, the Blazers announcer starts to mention it – Curry letting the OKC bench know about it.

And that’s the thing. This Blazers team isn’t a nice story, they’re a damn good team. And they are going to let you know about it.

And if CJ’s halftime buzzer beater was good, how about Dame for a third quarter buzzer beater.

That’s not fair. Lillard fitted Raymond Felton for skates and then tossed him in a mixer. Poor Raymond was all over the place, just throwing his arms every which way, and Dame still buried him on a step back.

People still can’t agree whether it’s Lillard Time or Dame Time, but at this point, I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s All The Damn Time.

And as long as we’re talking about time, it’s about time for a CERTAIN COACH to coach his team up.  No names mentioned….THE MUNSTER KID! COACH EM THE HELL UP, MUNSTER! Because the thinking going into Game 2 had been that there was no way that OKC could go 5 for 33 from deep again. And they didn’t.

Instead they went 5 for 28. That’s 10 for 61 in two games. That is brutal. Not all of that is on the coach, some of it is on Russell Westbrook who is being left for dead in this series. 

While Dame is putting everyone on notice, Russ was going 5 for 20 for 14 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds. Normally, getting that close to a triple double in a playoff game is a good thing, but not last night. Not when you also have 6 turnovers and when your teams never in the game in the second half.

And here’s another tough thing for Thunder fans. I know you hate that Kevin Durant left, but since he left, this team has gone 3-10 in in the playoffs. And Westbrook has had more than his share of bad nights.

And Lillard made last night a bad night. Hassling him on defense, knocking the ball away, and baiting him into bad shots.

The worst part of last night for OKC is that Paul George and his shoulder looked better and they still got steamrolled. It’s just two games. And as Lillard told everyone after the game, it doesn’t matter until you win on the road, but two games into this series, a statement has been made.

NOT ONLY ARE They’re trying, Jennifer. THEY’RE GETTING OVER, Jennifer. And if game one wasn’t a wakeup call to the munster kid and his players, then game two sure as hell was. Coach em up, Munster or you’re going to be looking a whole lot of for sale signs at your estate on mockingbird lane!.