Trail Blazers silence Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JANUARY 9: CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers goes up for a dunk against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 9, 2018 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. AFP

LOS ANGELES, United States — C.J. McCollum scored 27 points and passed off seven assists to lead the Portland Trail Blazers over Oklahoma City 117-106 in an NBA matchup Tuesday.

Shabazz Napier added 21 points and Bosnian big man Jusuf Nurkic had 20 for the Trail Blazers (22-18), who edged ahead of the host Thunder (22-19) for fifth place in the Western Conference.

Damian Lillard missed his second game in a row with a strained right calf, Napier starting in his place.

“That was a big win. It was for fifth place,” McCollum said. “Damian will be coming back any day now. We’ve got to keep the ship afloat until he gets back.”

McCollum sparked a Portland surge in the third quarter that kept Oklahoma City at bay the rest of the way,

“I just try to play at my pace, let the game come to me and when I have to take a big shot I’m not afraid of it,” McCollum said. “Guys did a great job of setting me screens and I was able to get to the middle.”

Russell Westbrook and Paul George each had 22 points to lead the Thunder, with Westbrook adding game highs of 12 assists and nine rebounds, while Carmelo Anthony contributed 19 points and New Zealand center Steven Adams had 16 in a losing cause.