Both Damian Lillard and the Oklahoma City Thunder played like the series depended on it. Only one of them could win. In the end, it was the star point guard for the Blazers that sealed the series as only he could.
Lillard had 50 points, including a team playoff record 34 in the first half, and the most important shot, a phenomenal 37-foot three-pointer as time expired to give the Blazers a 118-115 win, and a 4-1 series victory for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Maurice Harkless had 17 points. Enes Kanter had 13 points and 13 rebounds despite noticeable shoulder and leg injuries. Oklahoma City shot 54.7 percent from the floor, and got 36 points from Paul George.
Here are the keys going forward:
- Time for Portland to rest. Lillard played his heart out, recording 45 minutes and playing every second of the first three quarters. Portland rallied from 15 down in the fourth quarter. Enes Kanter played through a leg injury, and took a hard foul from Steven Adams that kept him down for a while with a shoulder injury. Now the team has a chance to rest before meeting its next opponent.
- Where was the help? Other than Lillard, Kanter, and Harkless, the rest of the squad suffered from the field. CJ McCollum had early foul trouble and the bench shot a combined 5-of-19. The team missed eight free throws, going 15-for-23. The Blazers biggest weakness was defense, where the Thunder shot over 60% from the field through the first twenty minutes.
- Keeping the effort high. This was an incredible victory. Damian Lillard single-handedly carried the squad to victory against all odds. The team had an estimated six percent chance to win with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Now they have to carry that energy into the next round.