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NBA Playoffs: Portland Trail Blazers vs. OKC Thunder preview

15 April, 2019, 12:23 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Sean Meagher  Staff

Paul George's injury status is day-to-day due to right shoulder soreness, Thunder coach Billy Donovan said after practice Friday.

Portland dominated the early going, jumping out to a 38-23 lead late in the first quarter.

The Blazers' hopes for postseason success were dealt a blow last month when center Jusuf Nurkic was lost for the season with a broken left leg. Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds when he sustained the gruesome injury during a game against the Brooklyn Nets.

The 25-year-old New Zealander had a solid game himself, with 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with 9 rebounds (6 at the offensive end) and 3 steals.

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

The Thunder will be kicking themselves as they could've stole Game 1 if they didn't allow the Trailblazers to get off to such a hot start. The Blazers went on to take the 104-99 victory, led by Lillard's 30 points, McCollum's 24 points, and a 20-point, 18-rebound double-double for Enes Kanter. Portland led 39-24 after one, shooting 60 percent from the floor to overwhelm the Thunder in the early going. But Kanter, signed just before the All-Star break after being waived by the New York Knick, has proven ad admirable fill-in.

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Dennis Schroder went 0-for-7, Russell Westbrook was 0-for-4 and Jerami Grant went 0-for-3 while Raymond Felton and Markieff Morris both missed their only attempts.

Damian Lillard led the way with a game-high 30 points including a number of ridiculously deep triples that set the tone for the Blazers.

Seth Curry made consecutive 3-pointers but the Thunder rallied in the final six minutes of the half to trail by just 54-48 at the break.

George was a game-time decision heading into Game 1, so it's no surprise that he wasn't at full strength. Ferguson earned his third foul and headed to the bench. "Obviously, his rebounding and scoring".

The Trail Blazers and Thunder will return to action on Tuesday for Game 2.

With Kanter's play through three quarters and Lillard's play in crunch time, it proved to be too much for the Thunder to handle.

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