Portland Trail Blazers ensure Damian Lillard, center, shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder ensure Russell Westbrook, right, defends during a second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff array in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Apr 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)
After 8 true playoff waste over a past dual years, a Portland Trail Blazers finally got a win.
Damian Lillard scored 30 points and a third-seeded Blazers non-stop their array opposite a No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday with a 104-99 victory.
“We know how it feels to win again,” Lillard said. “Now we can usually kind of pierce on from that and stay focused on this series.”
Portland was swept by New Orleans final deteriorate and a Warriors a year before.
Enes Kanter combined 20 points and a career playoff-high 18 rebounds for a Blazers, who were creation their sixth true postseason appearance. CJ McCollum combined 24 points.
Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth career postseason triple-double. Paul George, who was a game-time preference given of a bruise shoulder, combined 26 points and 10 rebounds notwithstanding a severe sharpened night.
Westbrook seemed to harm his right ankle in a final entertain and grimaced while perplexing to travel it off. Trainers attended to him on a dais during a subsequent timeout though he returned and his layup sealed a opening to 91-87 with usually underneath 4 mins left.
Asked about it afterward, Westbrook said: “We’ll see.”
After trailing by as many as 19 points in a initial half, Oklahoma City pulled within as 93-92 on George’s 3-pointer with 2:44 left. Lillard answered with a prolonged 3-pointer to keep a Blazers brazen and Al-Farouq Aminu done giveaway throws to extend Portland’s lead to 98-92.
George done a 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds remaining to get a Thunder within 100-97 though Portland hung on.
“We knew it was going to be a quarrel all night long. Even during a commencement of a diversion when we were adult like 17 during one point, we wasn’t looking during a scoreboard like, ‘Let’s put them away.” we was like, ‘Let’s usually stay solid, keep competing, keep personification hard,’ Lillard said. “And afterwards when they make their runs, and when they get behind in a game, (you) usually continue those storms.”
It was a initial postseason assembly between a teams given a Thunder changed from Seattle to Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City kick a Blazers in all 4 meetings this season, including a exhilarated 129-121 overtime feat on Mar 7.
The Thunder have been to a playoffs for 8 of a final 9 seasons, though they haven’t gotten past a opening turn for a past two.
George was nursing a bruise right shoulder and was deliberate day-to-day for Sunday’s diversion though he started. However he was usually 1 of 6 from a building in a opening quarter. For a game, he done 4 of 15 3-point attempts.
“Four days ago we couldn’t even lift my shoulder,” he said. “Then quick brazen to currently this is a initial day I’ve even shot a ball, so for me it’s usually rhythm.”
George missed a Thunder’ regular-season culmination Wednesday during Milwaukee given of a whinging injury, that also kept him out of games on Feb. 28, Mar 2 and Mar 3.
McCollum missed 10 games down a widen with a left knee aria and had usually played in dual games given returning. But he started and strike his initial dual 3-point attempts.
The Blazers’ hopes for postseason success were dealt a blow final month when core Jusuf Nurkic was mislaid for a deteriorate with a damaged left leg. Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds when he postulated a hideous damage during a diversion opposite a Brooklyn Nets.
Kanter, sealed usually before a All-Star mangle after he was waived by a New York Knicks, has started in Nurkic’s place.
The Thunder rallied from a 19-point necessity in a initial half to route by usually 54-48 during a break. But they struggled from 3-point range, creation usually dual of 18 attempts.
There was simmering tragedy between a teams. Terrance Ferguson and McCollum had a exhilarated sell in a second quarter, earning technical fouls. Ferguson warranted his third tainted and headed to a bench.
Westbrook’s layup got a Thunder within 64-60, though he collected his fourth tainted late in a third and went to a bench. The Blazers went into a fourth entertain with a 76-69 lead.
The Thunder’s usually lead was in a opening quarter.
“It’s a series. First to four. They won a initial game,” Westbrook said. “Now we make adjustments, come back, play harder subsequent diversion and try to take it.”
Thunder: While a Thunder swept a Blazers 4-0 during a unchanging season, Portland swept them in 4 games a deteriorate before.
Trail Blazers: Blazers manager Terry Stotts resolved his pregame speak with a media by saying. “All right. Masters.” The Blazers were 8-8 in a postseason opposite a SuperSonics. … Portland had won a final 8 regular-season games during a Moda Center. … Kanter had his third playoff double-double. … The Blazers haven’t done it out of a initial turn for a past dual seasons. Last year as a No. 3 seed Portland got swept by a New Orleans Pelicans.
In usually his ninth start with a Blazers, Kanter became usually a third actor in group story with during slightest 20 points and 18 rebounds in playoff game. Bill Walton did it 3 times and LaMarcus Aldridge once.
“He gave us a lot of toughness inside,” Stotts said. “Obviously, his resilient and scoring. we suspicion his conditioning was unequivocally good. He confirmed a high turn of play for a prolonged duration of time.”
UP NEXT: Game 2 is Tuesday night during a Moda Center.