Portland takes Game 1 against Oklahoma

Tanya Simon
April 15, 2019

It was a lackluster performance from the Thunder, who had a horrific shooting night as a team, hitting just 5-of-33 three-point attempts (15.2 percent).

Damian Lillard led the way for Portland with 30 points while C.J. McCollum added 24 points.

Kanter backed up point guard Damian Lillard's game-high 30 points with 20 points and a career playoff-high 18 rebounds as the third-seeded Blazers opened their series against the No 6 Thunder with a 104-99 victory on Monday (NZT). The Thunder defense was again good, holding the Blazers to just 37 percent shooting and 0-of-1 from three, but Kanter contributed six points and six rebounds in the third to keep pace.

Portland led by as many as 19 points in the first half, but the Thunder pulled within 80-77 early in the fourth quarter. Paul George, who was a game-time decision because of a sore shoulder, added 26 points and 10 rebounds after a slow start.

George made a 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds remaining to get the Thunder within 100-97 but Portland hung on.

In the 2017 offseason, Kanter was a part of the trade between the Thunder and New York Knicks that sent Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City.

The Thunder have not gotten past the opening round of the playoffs for the past two seasons.

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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.

George missed the Thunder' regular-season finale Wednesday at Milwaukee because of the nagging injury, which also kept him out of games on February 28, March 2 and March 3.

"Last year we didn't win a game and this year we did", Lillard continued on the topic.

Portland dominated the early going, jumping out to a 38-23 lead late in the first quarter. The Thunder did not make any of their six 3-point attempts, while Portland was 7 of 10. The Blazers led 39-25 after the first quarter and were able to close out the rest of the game in entertaining fashion.

Lillard wasted no time to get in the scoring column in this one, pulling up from the Moda Center logo for his first bucket of the game.

Second-leading scorer CJ McCollum missed almost three weeks near the end of the regular season recovering from a left knee strain and only managed to get in just two games before the beginning of the playoffs.

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