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Paul’s 30 lead Thunder past shorthanded Blazers

/ 07:48 PM January 19, 2020
Thunder-Blazers

Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel (9) dunks between Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside (21) and guard Anfernee Simons (1) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Chris Paul matched a season high with 30 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 119-106 on Saturday night.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 22 points and Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel each added 15 for Oklahoma City.

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Portland had just eight players available. Portland’s Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver were not with the team, and coach Terry Stotts declined comment amid reports that the players were to be traded to Sacramento in exchange for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan.

Portland guard C.J. McCollum was out with a sprained left ankle. He ranks second on the team, averaging 21.5 points.

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Damian Lillard, who played despite dealing with an upper respiratory illness, led the Trail Blazers with 34 points. Gary Trent Jr. scored a career-high 30.

The Thunder led 64-57 at halftime behind 21 points from Paul. Lillard scored 24 to keep the Trail Blazers in it.

Oklahoma City pushed its lead to 87-77 after three quarters, and the Thunder cruised in the fourth.

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Trail Blazers: Bazemore, a forward, has started 21 games this season, including Portland’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. He averages 7.9 points and 4.0 rebounds. Tolliver has started nine games this season. He played 17 minutes against Dallas. … Carmelo Anthony, who played one season with the Thunder, got a warm reception from the fans. … Assistant coach Jim Moran was called for a technical foul in the third quarter.

Thunder: F Danilo Gallinari sat out to rest. … Thunder C Steven Adams returned to action after sitting out Friday with a right knee contusion. … Thunder G Terrance Ferguson sat out with an illness. … Thunder C Justin Patton was a late scratch because of illness. … G Hamidou Diallo got his second start of the season. He scored four points. … C Nerlens Noel was called for a technical foul in the third quarter.

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Trail Blazers: Host Golden State on Monday.

Thunder: At Houston on Monday.

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TAGS: Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, NBA, OKC Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers
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