The Oklahoma City Thunder are on the brink of a first-round NBA playoff exit for the third straight season.
A 111-98 game four loss to the Portland Trail Blazers has the Thunder staring down the barrel of elimination as the head back to Portland with a 3-1 deficit in the best of seven series.
Hope was high for OKC after a momentum-building game three win on Saturday and with a strong opening 23 minutes on Monday appeared to have them on track.
But a 16-0 run for the Trail Blazers, led by star guard Damian Lillard, dented the Thunder, who failed to pull back the visitors in the final frame.
OKC got within seven with just under two minutes to play, but they couldn't sink key buckets down the stretch.
Russell Westbrook and Paul George failrd to match the offensive output of Lillard, CJ McCollum and Al-Farouq Aminu who had his best game of the series.
The Thunder must win the final three games of the series, including two in Portland, to advance to the Western Conference semi-finals for the first time since Kevin Durant left the franchise.
And they will need more from Westbrook and big Kiwi centre Steven Adams if they are to have any chance.
Westbrook started superbly on Monday, hitting two early three-point shots, but he failed to maintain consistent offence finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Adams was kept quiet by his good pal Enes Kanter, the 25-year-old finishing with six points and seven rebounds.
George was impressive for the most part scoring a game-high 32 points, but the talented Trail Blazers backcourt always had an answer when the Thunder threatened an offensive run.
Lillard scored 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter, while McCollum was terrific across all four quarters, finishing with 27 points.
Aminu provided quality back up to the dynamic duo with 19 points and nine rebounds.
In other playoff action on Monday, the Boston Celtics booked their spot in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. A 110-106 game four win gave them a series sweep over the Indiana Pacers.
Toronto is on the brink of joining them having taken a 3-1 lead over the Orlando Magic.
The Raptors secured a 107-85 win.
The two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors are on track for the Western Conference semi-finals.
A 113-105 game four win over the Los Angeles Clippers gave them a 3-1 lead with game five back home at Oracle Arena.