Thunder and Blazers Deal With Health Issues as Series Begins

Paola Ditto
Aprile 15, 2019

Steven Adams made an impact, but not as much as Enes Kanter in game 1 of the Western Conference first-round National Basketball Association playoff series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers.

George was nursing a sore right shoulder and was considered day-to-day for Sunday's game but he started.

In his first go-round as a member of the Thunder in 2017-18 season, George appeared in 79 regular season games en route to averaging 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and an even 2.0 steals over the course of 36.6 minutes per contest. But they struggled from 3-point range, making just two of 18 attempts. "He had a huge presence down the stretch and played a huge part in us winning this game", said Lillard.

The re-aggravation of a right shoulder injury from the end of February sidelined George in the Thunder's 127-116 win at Milwaukee Wednesday. He has had problems with his left shoulder as well. Terrance Ferguson and McCollum had a heated exchange in the second quarter, earning technical fouls.

Westbook's layup got the Thunder within 64-60, but he collected his fourth foul late in the third and went to the bench.

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. The Rockets would justifiably point out that their current rotation is far healthier and settled compared to those rocky opening weeks when Houston stumbled to an 11-14 start.

Portland takes a 1-0 lead in the first round series with the victory. "They won the first game", Westbrook said.

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

Trail Blazers: Blazers coach Terry Stotts concluded his pregame talk with the media by saying. A year ago as a No. 3 seed Portland got swept by the New Orleans Pelicans.

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.

"He gave us a lot of toughness inside", Stotts said. I thought his conditioning was really good.

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.

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