Damian Lillard casually pulled up from 30-feet on Portland’s opening possession, hitting all net for a tone-setting bomb that jump started a Trail Blazers offense that hit 7-of-10 from long range to build a 19-point first quarter lead. Despite Steven Adams getting whatever he wanted on Enes Kanter in the paint, Paul George and Russell Westbrook struggled for a combined 2-of-11 from the floor. Portland led 39-24 after one, shooting 60 percent from the floor to overwhelm the Thunder in the early going.
The Thunder defense arrived in the second quarter, holding the Blazers to 30 percent shooting and just 15 points — which allowed OKC to chip away at the double-digit deficit. The Thunder offense continued struggling despite the defensive resurgence, hitting just 8-of-23 from the floor in the frame. No matter — OKC drew within six at the halftime break after outscoring Portland 23-15 in the second. Adams led the way with 13 points in the first half, Westbrook added 10-8-7, and the Thunder were within striking distance despite George’s 9 points on 3-of-14 from the field. C.J. McCollum led the Blazers with 16 points at the midway point, with Lillard contributing 12 points. Portland was 9-of-17 from three, compared to just 2-of-18 for OKC.
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. 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 outscored OKC 22-21 in the quarter to take a 76-69 lead into the fourth.
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. However, the OKC offense just couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities, going 2-of-9 from deep (they shot just 5-of-33 for the game — 15.2%) with a few chances to tie it down the stretch.
Down four with 2:40 remaining, Adams gathered an offensive rebound and tapped it out to George — who knocked down the rare Thunder three to cut Portland’s lead to 93-92. With momentum seemingly in favor of OKC, Lillard stepped up yet again from the parking lot, hitting from 30-feet to put the Blazers back up four with 2:23 remaining.
Though Kanter would ultimately deliver the final blow with a driving finish to put Portland up 100-94 with 11 seconds on the clock, that Lillard three seemed to suck the wind out of yet another furious Thunder rally. 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. Westbrook led the way for OKC, finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on 8-of-17 shooting. George had 26 points, 10 rebounds, and four steals, but shot just 8-of-24 from the field and 4-of-15 from three. Adams finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, and Schroder added 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting.
Portland takes a 1-0 lead in the first round series with the victory. Game 2 is on Tuesday night in Portland — 9:30 PM CST on TNT and Fox Sports Oklahoma.