NBA highlights on March 7: OKC sweep Trail Blazers despite Lillard's 51 points
Li Xiang

The 2018-19 NBA regular season wrapped up Thursday with two games. The visiting Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 129-121 with an overtime win at the Moda Center to rise to third place in the Western Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks claimed a 19-point win at home against the Indiana Pacers 117-98.

Lillard did everything he could

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers penetrates in the game they lose against the Oklahoma City Thunder 129-121, March 7. /VCG Photo

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers penetrates in the game they lose against the Oklahoma City Thunder 129-121, March 7. /VCG Photo

Russell Westbrook scored Oklahoma City's high of 37 points with a 50 percent of field goal rate (14/28), which was rare for him. Paul George though struggled with his shooting, but he still managed to get 32 points thanks to the 17 free throws he made plus 14 rebounds. Three other players, Jerami Grant, Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder got 14, 12 and 14 points respectively.

Damian Lillard shot down 51 points, which was the fifth 50+point performance in his career, plus nine assists for Portland. C.J. McCollum got 25 points. Jusuf Nurkic put down a double-double of 13 points and 17 rebounds while Rodney Hood scored 10.

Jerami Grant #9 of the Thunder shoots in the game against the Trail Blazers, March 7. /VCG Photo

Jerami Grant #9 of the Thunder shoots in the game against the Trail Blazers, March 7. /VCG Photo

The two teams had interesting matchups in the game. The Thunder, with their huge advantage in athleticism, scored a lot of easy points. The Trail Blazers' defense, especially by Lillard, Seth Curry and Hood, did not seem to bother OKC at all. On the other hand Oklahoma City's aggressive defense of double-teaming the ball handler could not slow Lillard down from dropping points either.

As a result, the two sides kept exchanging points and leads throughout as nether side fell behind by too much for too long. Nurkic and George made a scene with 13.1 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. George clearly hit Nurkic's face with his elbow in offense but the referees ignored that, giving Terrence Ferguson a second chance to help OKC lead 113-111.

Russell Westbrook #0 of th Thunder shoots in the game against the Trail Blazers, March 7. /VCG Photo

Russell Westbrook #0 of th Thunder shoots in the game against the Trail Blazers, March 7. /VCG Photo

In the next position, Lillard missed his shot and Nurkic took the rebound before he was fouled by Grant. In a great rage, Nurkic clashed with George and both of them received technical fouls which led to ejection of Nurkic. The game got even more dramatic then as Skal Labissiere replaced Nurkic but missed the two free throws. However, the Thunder's Markieff Morris was again called a foul when he competed for rebound, giving another two free throws to Portland. This time, Al-Farouq Aminu sank both of them to tie the score.

The home team's good luck ended after that. Westbrook dominated the game in the OT by scoring nine points to help the Thunder sweep the Trail Blazers 4-0 this season.

Tribute to the Pacers and cheer for the Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts after scoring in the game they win against the Indiana Pacers 117-98, March 7. /VCG Photo

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts after scoring in the game they win against the Indiana Pacers 117-98, March 7. /VCG Photo

Giannis Antetokounmpo again dropped the most 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for Milwaukee. Khris Middleton shot down 27 points. The other two first-lineup players of the team, Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe, scored respectively 13 and 12 points.

Indiana saw five of their players put down double-digit points. Myles Turner had a double-double of 22 points and 17 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic got 17 while Wesley Matthews and Thaddeus Young both got 10 points. Kyle O'Quinn from the bench scored 11 points.

Antetokounmpo #34 of the Bucks dunks in the game against the Pacers, March 7. /VCG Photo

Antetokounmpo #34 of the Bucks dunks in the game against the Pacers, March 7. /VCG Photo

Though they lost the team's best player Victor Oladipo, the Pacers managed to maintain as No.3 in the Eastern Conference, above the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics. The team showed their toughness to the Bucks at the Fiserv Forum on Thursday by keeping the game in balance in the first two and a half quarters.

However, Milwaukee showed why they were the best team in the league. First they enhanced defense and soon launched a 12-0 run to expand their lead to 16 points. Then shooters of Milwaukee started to bury points from the 3-pt line before the score difference reached 22 points. Though the Pacers tried to fight back with a 8-2 run in the last quarter, Antetokounmpo ruined their last hope with four straight dunks to help his team put an end to their two consecutive losses.