NBA: Trail Blazers hold off Thunder to win opening matchup

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Apr 15 2019 07:19 AM

Damian Lillard scored 30 points as the Portland Trail Blazers held off the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder to win 104-99 on Sunday in the opener of their first-round playoff series.

CJ McCollum added 24 points and Enes Kanter contributed 20 points and 18 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who led by as many as 19 points in the first half.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) reacts with center Enes Kanter (00) after a score in the second half in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Moda Center. Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports, Reuters

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.

McCollum scored 16 points and Lillard added 12 as the Blazers carried a 54-48 lead into intermission. Steven Adams had 13 points for the Thunder, who were 2 for 18 from 3-point range in the first half. Portland hurt its cause with 10 first-half turnovers.

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 Thunder got to within 84-81 on a Dennis Schroder floater with 8:43 to go, but Kanter sank a pair at the line, and Lillard followed with a long-range 3-pointer and a runner to make it 91-81 with 6:20 remaining.

OKC scored six straight points, the last two on a left-handed layup by Westbrook to cut it to 91-87 with 3:51 left. Lillard knocked down a pair at the line to make it 93-87 with 3:33 to play.

Adams scored on a jump hook to cut it to 93-89 with 3:25 to go. 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.

Al-Farouq Aminu sank two foul shots to give the Blazers a 98-92 advantage with 2:09 on the clock. Westbrook answered with a pair at the line to draw OKC to within 98-94 with 1:16 remaining.

Kanter scored on a left-handed drive with 11.4 seconds left to push Portland ahead 100-94. George bombed in a 3 to cut it to 100-97, and Lillard hit pair at the line to make it 102-97 with 5.5 seconds to go. Schroder scored on a drive to cut it to 102-99 with 4.2 ticks left. Lillard iced the verdict with two more at the line with 1.9 seconds remaining.

Portland dominated the early going, jumping out to a 38-23 lead late in the first quarter. The Blazers -- who made 12 of 20 shots from the field, 7 of 10 from 3-point range -- took a 39-25 advantage into the second quarter. Lillard and McCollum combined to make 7 of 10 shots, including 6 of 8 from the 3-point line, in the first period.

The Blazers increased the margin to 47-28 early in the second quarter. The Thunder used an 8-0 run to draw within 47-36, then closed the gap to six points going into halftime.

--Field Level Media

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