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Lillard: 'I want to win at least one more'


Not so long ago, the goal was to shock the world and make the playoffs.

Now, as the roar turns to a whimper, the Trail Blazers simply want to win another game.

Any game.

“It’s tough,” said rookie Damian Lillard after the Blazers took another one in the shorts, a 106-90 pasting by Oklahoma City Friday night at the Rose Garden, their 10th straight loss. “I hate losing, especially with the type of season we had.

“I don’t want to go into the offseason on a (13)-game losing streak. I want to win at least one (more) game.”

There are three more chances for Portland (33-46): at Denver Sunday, at Staples Center against the L.A. Clippers Tuesday and at home in the season finale against Golden State on Wednesday.

Three playoff teams, so it won’t be easy.

“We have to go out and play basketball,” backup point guard Eric Maynor said. “They’re not going to forfeit the last three games.

“We have to try to get a win — play together, play much smarter, something like that.”

All of the above would be a good idea. Putting together a solid third quarter would help, too.

The Blazers played a strong first half Friday night, fighting tooth and nail with an Oklahoma City team battling with San Antonio for the best regular-season record in the NBA’s Western Conference.

Thabo Sefalosha’s 3-point shot at the buzzer sent OKC (59-21) into intermission with some momentum and a 55-54 lead. The third quarter was some kind of ugly for the Blazers, who were outscored 26-7 and made 3 of 21 shots from the field as they fell behind 81-61 entering the final period.

“I don’t know if we can take all the credit,” OKC coach Scottie Brooks said of the third-quarter swing. “They missed shots they’ve been making all year, but our defense was outstanding. Any time you can hold a team under 10 points, you’re doing something right.”

And the other guys doing something wrong.

“They turned it up, and we didn’t match their energy,” said rookie Will Barton, who started at shooting guard for the second straight game for injured Wesley Matthews and scored a team-high 18 points to go with seven rebounds. “They’re a great team. They did what great teams do.”

“Our offense just ground down,” coach Terry Stotts said. “We stopped moving the ball. We didn’t help create shots for each other. We were loose with turnovers. It was a bad combination, and too big a hole for us after that third quarter.”

Summed Maynor: “We came out real flat, and they jumped on us.”

Russell Westbrook was the catalyst, scoring 17 of his game-high 33 points in the quarter and more than doubling the Blazers’ total, which was an all-time franchise low for a third quarter.

“He was efficient,” said OKC’s Kevin Durant, who had 16 points, six assists and five rebounds in his 30 minutes. “He took great shots. He was attacking and putting pressure on (Damian) Lillard and their point guards. He had the hot hand. All night we were trying to feed him.”

Westbrook also had primary defensive responsibility on Lillard, holding the likely Rookie of the Year to two first-half points and 3-for-14 shooting for the game.

“We locked in on him,” Brooks said. “We didn’t want a lot of penetration, and we did a good job keeping him out of the paint. The shots he was taking were contested.”

“They made him a priority,” Stotts said. “They didn’t give him any clean looks. They funneled him on his drives, committed two guys to him. It was a frustrating night offensively for Damian, but he continued to play.”

But not very well.

“They did a good job in pick-and-roll coverage, contested all my shots at the rim,” Lillard said. “They played physical. They played a good game.”

The Blazers played a good first half. After that, it was mostly let’s-get-this-over-with time for the home quintet.

Portland hasn’t won since a victory at Atlanta on March 22.

“It’s been a long time,” Stotts said with a shrug. “We got a lot going on. We’ve been playing some good teams. We’ve played well in spots.

“We’d like to get some wins. Got to get up for the next game. After you lose a game, you’re down. You have to pick yourself up and get ready for the next one.”

If the Blazers lose out, they’ll match the franchise record for consecutive losses set back in 1971-72, the club’s second season, by a team that finished a franchise-worst 18-64.

“Nobody wants to lose, but (10) straight is kind of bad,” Maynor said. “We got three more to go. Got to get one in Denver.”

NOTES: The Thunder clinched the Northwest Division championship for the third straight year and can guarantee themselves homecourt advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs by beating Sacramento and Milwaukee in their final two games. ... OKC swept the season series and has won seven consecutive games against Portland. ... Both teams were shorthanded. Oklahoma City was without starting center Kendrick Perkins (hamstring) and sixth man Kevin Martin (back). Portland was minus two starters — shooting guard Wesley Matthews (ankle) and small forward Nicolas Batum (shoulder). ... Portland’s 10-game losing streak is its longest since late in the 2005-06 season.

Before the game, Brooks on Lillard, who went for a season-high 38 points in Wednesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers: “He has the composure of a guy who has been in the league for seven or eight years. Nothing seems to rattle him. He had a great first month and it seems like each month he’s played a little bit better. He’s obviously going to win the Rookie of the Year.” ... During their current five-game road win streak, Thunder have beaten the opposition by an average of 15.6 points. ... The Thunder shot .650 in the first quarter, .550 in the first half and .519 for the game — the seventh Portland opponent in its last eight games to finish at better than 50 percent.