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Blazers ignore trash talk, refs to beat Thunder

With their starters heading to the bench with 40 seconds left, Game 4 in hand and a 3-1 series lead in their pocket on the way back home, the Portland Trail Blazers had an opportunity to bask in their 111-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder a little. But there was no celebrating, no trash talking, no taunting, no dunks at the buzzer. It was, as Damian Lillard said, all business from start to finish.

“After Game 3, we were in the locker room saying they lived at the free throw line and all this stuff, but Game 4, we’re not talking to nobody but ourselves,” Lillard said. “Referees can call it how they want to call, we’re just going to worry about ourselves.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“After last game, it was a big deal being made out of the back-and-forth and we weren’t emotional about it — we were just competing,” Lillard continued. “We were just passionate about the game as well. But like I said earlier, we didn’t really engage in it because our focus was our team. Like I told you guys, we’re not gonna come out here and go crazy on the referees, we’re not gonna go out here and get in any shouting matches and back-and-forths and all that stuff. We’re gonna focus on the stuff we need to focus on that’s gonna give us a chance to win the game. I was proud of how our team stuck to that.”6

Lillard, who started 0-of-6 and didn’t make his first shot until 1:15 left in the first half, cooked once again in the third quarter, finishing with 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting plus 8 assists. Guard CJ McCollum was essential in putting the Thunder away, scoring 27 on 10-of-20 shooting. A number of times, Lillard and McCollum were vocal with teammates, once pulling forward Zach Collins aside for an animated conversation after the second-year player was called for defensive three seconds.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“We’re a lot more mature than we were in past years,” McCollum said. “We can handle adversity. We understood what we wanted to accomplish tonight and we didn’t want anything to get in the way. Multiple times we had discussions about not saying anything to anyone. If they don’t have a black-and-gray jersey on, don’t talk to him. Talk to our team. Don’t talk to the refs, don’t talk to the other team. Execute our game plan and let’s get out of here with the win.”

Once again, Lillard and McCollum outplayed the Thunder’s two stars, with Paul George finishing with 32 points on 8-of-21 shooting, while Russell Westbrook had only 14 points on 5-of-21 shooting. Westbrook started hot, hitting a couple of 3-pointers early, and a pull-up jumper over Lillard in the first quarter. After he hit it, Westbrook stuck out his tongue and shot a look at the Portland bench. He was more restrained as well, but that might have had more to do with the fact he didn’t have many more opportunities to talk.