For the second straight year, the Thunder find themselves down 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs. And for the second straight year, Russell Westbrook has been wildly inefficient.
Why it matters: This is Westbrook's third season as the face of the franchise following Kevin Durant's departure, and Oklahoma City still hasn't won a single playoff road game, let alone a series.
- Another early exit will not do great things for his postseason résumé and overall NBA legacy, and it could lead to a roster shakeup in OKC this offseason.
By the numbers: The Thunder are 4-11 in the postseason since Durant left, and Westbrook is shooting a paltry 38.7% from the field over that span.
- This series: Westbrook's shooting has been even worse (36.3% FG). On top of that, he fell right into Portland's trap in Game 4, taking the open midrange jumpers they were literally begging him to shoot.
- Yes, but: OKC's struggles don't fall solely on Westbrook's shoulders. His co-star Paul George has also struggled mightily (38.7% FG over two postseasons), as have some role players.
Between the lines: To make tonight's matchup even more movie-like, the protagonist of our story is taking on his nemesis, Damian Lillard, who has outplayed him this series (28.8 PPG, 43.9% FG) and loves getting under his skin.
The bottom line: If they can't mount a comeback, the Thunder will face some big-picture questions this summer, and the "can't win a ring with Westbrook as your point guard" argument will have gained some serious legs.
- Magic vs. Raptors (7pm ET, NBATV)
- Nets vs. 76ers (8, TNT)
- Spurs vs. Nuggets (9:30, NBATV)
- Thunder vs. Trail Blazers (10:30, TNT)
P.S. ... In other NBA news, the Bucks eliminated the Pistons, the Jazz beat the Rockets to force Game 5, and the Suns fired their coach after just one season. Classic Suns.