Oklahoma City Thunder notebook: Damien Lillard has career night, now faces Thunder

The Thunder will face Rookie of the Year front-runner Damian Lillard on the heels of his career-high, 37-point performance in Oakland, the town where he played high school ball.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: January 12, 2013

The Thunder will face Rookie of the Year front-runner Damian Lillard on the heels of his career-high, 37-point performance in Oakland, the town where he played high school ball.

Lillard's superlative effort in front of family and friends wasn't enough as Golden State snapped the Portland Trail Blazers' four-game winning streak with a 103-97 victory on Friday night at Oracle Arena.

Tipoff between the Thunder (28-8) and Blazers (20-16) is at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Rose Garden.

Lillard shot 15 for 22 from the field with a career-high seven 3-pointers and also had six rebounds and four assists. He had 29 points in the second half — 17 in the fourth quarter — in a comeback effort staged six miles away from where he played at Oakland High School.

“It's bittersweet because everything I did was for us to win the game,” Lillard said after the game. “I got caught up in just competing and trying to win the game so, like I said, it's bittersweet.”

MIX AND MATCH

Thunder coach Scott Brooks continues to experiment with various lineups. One qualifies as an all-guard combination featuring Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, DeAndre Liggins, Reggie Jackson and Kevin Durant, whom Brooks said he will utilize at every position except center.

The determining factor on whether to use this combination is defense, not offense.

“We have guys who can play multiple positions and guard multiple positions,” Brooks said. “That's how I really look at it, ‘Can they guard multiple positions?' It's not just about the offensive end because you can throw anybody on offense and try to work it out. If you can't play offense, you try to hide him in the corner. If he can play, you try to feature him. But defensively, you can't hide guys.”

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