Thursday, 25 April, 2019

McCollum keeps promise to infamous Jennifer as Blazers snap playoff skid

Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Sean Meagher  Staff LC Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Sean Meagher Staff
Cassandra Castillo | 15 April, 2019, 17:13

Paul George collected 26 points and 10 rebounds and Russell Westbrook compiled 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Thunder, who made only 5 of 33 3-point attempts in the game.

Enes Kanter added 20 points and a career playoff-high 18 rebounds for the Blazers, who were making their sixth straight postseason appearance.

As a team, the Thunder shot just 39 percent from the field and a miserly five of 33 from the 3-point line, but they held the Trailblazers to just 15 points in the second quarter to stay in the contest, only to fall short as they needed more production from George who missed 16 of his 24 shots as he played through an injury. George buried a 3 and it was 93-92 with 2:35 to go, but Lillard's trey upped Portland's lead to 96-92 with 2:23 to play.

Some of that improvement, at least relative to the matchup with the Rockets, was displayed early in the season when the Jazz claimed the first two meetings with Houston by a total of 38 points.

The Thunder have been to the playoffs every season since moving from Seattle in 2008, but they haven't gotten past the opening round for the past two seasons.

The team certainly struggled to shoot on Sunday but it seems reasonable to think those struggles will not continue in Game 2 on Tuesday night in Portland. "He had a huge presence down the stretch and played a huge part in us winning this game", said Lillard.

Following the All-Star break, the Thunder finished off the year at just 12-13, stumbling all the way down to the No. 6 seed.

More news: Winx Has Won Her Final Race At Randwick

The Trail Blazers and Thunder will return to action on Wednesday for Game 2. But he started and hit his first two 3-point attempts.

OKC cut the difference to 66-62 late in the third quarter, but the Blazers took a 76-69 edge into the final period.

The teams went back and forth in the third quarter - Portland pushing their lead back to double-digits, the Thunder responding with a charge to draw closer. For the game, he made four of 15 3-point attempts.

The Blazers increased the margin to 47-28 early in the second quarter.

Despite trailing by as many as 19, and for all but 23 seconds of the game, the Thunder hung around in the fourth quarter - getting within three on a Dennis Schroder three-pointer at the 9-minute mark. Tales of the tape will help players and fans understand how OKC can gain the upper hand in what is sure to be a hard first-round series.

On Sunday at Toyota Center, the Rockets will host Utah in Game 1 of this first-round series.

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