Blazers end playoff losing streak with defeat of Thunder

LOS ANGELES, USA – The Portland Trail Blazers snapped their 10-game playoff losing streak, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 104-99, on Sunday, April 14 (Monday, April 15, Philippine time).

The Blazers have not won a playoff game for the last 3 years, suffering back-to-back first-round sweeps in 2017 and 2018 against the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans, respectively. 

On Sunday, however, Portland's three-year wait for a postseason win came to an end as Damian Lillard inspired a battling victory over the sixth-seeded Oklahoma City.

Lillard went 9-of-21 from the field on his way to 30 points in 38 minutes, adding 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

He was backed by C.J. McCollum, who added 24 points from 9-of-24 shooting with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Turkey's Enes Kanter, meanwhile, reminded his former Thunder teammates of his talent, posting a double-double of 20 points and 18 rebounds.

The trio of @Dame_Lillard (30 PTS), @CJMcCollum (24 PTS), and @Enes_Kanter (20 PTS, 18 REB) guide the @trailblazers to a 1-0 series lead! #RipCity #NBAPlayoffs — NBA (@NBA) April 14, 2019

Lillard said Kanter's fired-up contribution had tipped the balance for the Blazers.

"Any time you're going up against a team you played for, in the most important series of the year, you're going to want to play well," Lillard said. "And you're going to want to come out on the winning side.

"We understood that he was going to come out ready to play. And he was the MVP of the game, especially down the stretch."

"He had a huge presence and played a big part in us winning this game." 

Al-Farouq Aminu added 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Oklahoma City's scoring was led by Paul George with 26 points and Russell Westbrook, who added 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for yet another triple-double. –