Damian Lillard Calls Enes Kanter 'The MVP' Of Game 1

Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Sean Meagher  Staff

Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Sean Meagher Staff

George made a 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds remaining to get the Thunder within 100-97 but Portland hung on. Lillard answered with a long 3-pointer to keep the Blazers ahead and Al-Farouq Aminu made free throws to extend Portland's lead to 98-92.

Oklahoma City Thunder swingman Paul George was obviously not himself on Sunday afternoon after OKC went down to the Portland Trail Blazers, 104-99.

As the Trail Blazers took Game 1 on Sunday, Kanter certainly had his way against his former team.

"It's a series, the first to four".

"I think defense is all about communication for us", he said. "That's a part of the series, make adjustments, come back, play harder the next game and try to take care of business".

Lillard re-found a rhythm from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. The main issue for the Thunder to resolve are second chances, as it allowed Portland to snag 13 offensive rebounds, and that involves boxing out from all five positions.

"He gave us a lot of toughness inside", Stotts said. "The more I can get back to my (assignment), the better with the matchups and box outs".

The Blazers used the 3-ball as a difference-maker, going 11-for-25 (44.0 percent) from three and outscoring the Thunder 33-15 from the perimeter. In fact in the first half, after an 18-6 run by Portland sent everything in motion, the Blazers started the game 9-for-12 from three-point range and eventually ran the lead up to 19 points. However he was just 1 for 6 from the floor in the opening quarter.

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Eventually, the momentum turned behind a defensive performance that rallied the Thunder midway through the second quarter.

He made an impact in other areas with 10 rebounds and four steals, but George also committed a team-high four turnovers and picked up his fifth foul with just under four minutes to play in the game. He was dealing with a shoulder injury entering the playoffs, and the Thunder star admitted that he wasn't able to make a shot before their showdown with the Blazers. "Tomorrow, we get shots up and get back in tune and try to get the same looks that we got tonight".

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.

"(Westbrook) was downhill, our team was downhill.

Donovan said the way practice was structured Friday, not all players did on-court work. "I think Enes has been really good for us defensively. We didn't capitalize on the break and certainly didn't capitalize when we had opportunities to score".

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.

McCollum missed 10 games down the stretch with a left knee strain and had only played in two games since returning.

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