CJ McCollum likes when video games get gritty.
The guard scored 33 issues because the Portland Path Blazers took a 2-Zero lead of their playoff collection in opposition to the Oklahoma Town Thunder with a 114-94 victory on Tuesday night time.
Nerve-racking every now and then with quite a few jawing back-and-forth between the groups, the collection now heads to Oklahoma Town for Recreation Three on Friday.
“I find it irresistible, that is what I reside for,” mentioned McCollum, who neglected 10 video games past due within the common season on account of a knee damage. “Identical to taking part in at the playground.”
Damian Lillard added 29 issues for the third-seeded Blazers, who opened a playoff collection with two wins for the primary time because the 2014 playoffs, after they beat Houston in six video games.
Russell Westbrook, who had his 9th occupation postseason triple-double in Oklahoma Town’s Recreation 1 loss, completed with 14 issues, 9 rebounds and 11 assists. He was once pulled with Three:31 with maximum of his fellow starters after Portland constructed a 112-91 lead.
Westbrook was once simply five of 20 from the sector, together with 1 for six on Three-point makes an attempt. Jointly, the Thunder have been five of 28 from the fringe.
“I have were given to play higher,” Westbrook mentioned. “This night, the loss, I will take complete duty of this night since the manner I performed was once unacceptable. I will be higher.”
Paul George had 27 issues regardless of lingering questions on his proper shoulder, which was once lined with kinesiology tape.
Portland’s victory in Recreation 1 snapped a 10-game postseason dropping streak that integrated four-game sweeps previously two seasons — first by way of the Warriors after which ultimate 12 months by way of the Pelicans. Lillard had 30 issues within the 104-99 win on Sunday.
Oklahoma Town beat the Blazers in all 4 conferences right through the common season. The Thunder had been to the playoffs for 8 of the ultimate 9 seasons, however they have not gotten previous the hole around for the previous two.
Oklahoma Town began with much more power than in Recreation 1, when it fell at the back of by way of 19 issues within the first part. When Westbrook hit a Three-pointer within the first quarter, he pounded his chest and the Thunder went on to steer 31-26 on the finish of the length.
Lillard hit a Three-pointer and was once fouled to near the Blazers inside of 48-43. However the recreation started to get heated, with Lillard and Westbrook coming into it when Lillard attempted to strip the ball. The officers reviewed it for a “opposed act” however concluded there have been no fouls at the play. It was once chippy for far of the sport, and at one level Lillard and Steven Adams stared every different down after Adams set a display screen at the All-Superstar guard.
“With this group it is bodily. It is bodily each and every time we have performed them,” mentioned Portland’s Maurice Harkless, who completed with 14 issues. “It is just magnified now — and it is just going to get extra bodily.”
Westbrook amassed 3 fouls within the first part and headed early to the bench, as did Portland’s Enes Kanter, who was once such a success in opposition to the Thunder in Recreation 1. In combination the groups had 29 fouls within the opening part and there have been 54 for the sport.
McCollum nailed a Three-pointer off a go from Lillard on the buzzer to tie the sport at 54 going into the smash. Then McCollum grew to become to the group and easily nodded.
“My frame feels just right,” mentioned McCollum, taking part in in his fourth recreation because the layoff on account of a left knee pressure. “Coming off an damage, with the ability to get right into a rhythm and rise up and down. With the ability to in finding that rhythm is essential to me.”
Portland pulled in entrance on McCollum’s jumper and prolonged it to 69-63 with Lillard’s lengthy Three-pointer. Seth Curry had back-to-back 3s to place the Blazers up 85-73 past due within the 1/3.
The Blazers’ hopes for postseason luck gave the impression to take a blow ultimate month when heart Jusuf Nurkic was once misplaced for the season with a damaged left leg. Nurkic was once averaging 15.6 issues and 10.four rebounds when he sustained the grotesque damage right through a recreation in opposition to the Brooklyn Nets.
Kanter, signed simply sooner than the All-Superstar smash after he was once waived by way of the New York Knicks, has began in Nurkic’s position. Kanter had 20 issues and 18 rebounds in Recreation 1 however completed with six issues and 5 rebounds on Tuesday.
At one level within the first part Kanter were given knocked within the hand and X-rays at halftime published a contusion. However he mentioned following the sport that he’d be fantastic for Recreation Three.
Thunder: Thunder trainer Billy Donovan was once emphatic sooner than the sport: “No accidents, no person out, no game-time selections.” … It is the first playoff collection between the groups because the Thunder moved from Seattle to Oklahoma Town.
Path Blazers: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who simply signed a freelance extension that makes him the perfect paid participant within the NFL, was once some of the lovers on the Moda Heart, as was once Gonzaga trainer Mark Few. … Jake Layman, who didn’t play within the collection opener, got here in to begin the second one quarter.
TROUBLE FROM DISTANCE
Donovan mentioned he’s going to check out why the Thunder don’t seem to be faring smartly from Three-point vary. The group additionally struggled in Recreation 1, making simply 5 of 33 makes an attempt.
“For essentially the most phase, I feel we were given quite respectable seems to be and we are going to must take them,” Donovan mentioned. “Because the ball will get pushed downhill, and groups deliver lend a hand and offer protection to the rim, you simply can not drive the ball in there and take tricky, ill-advised pictures. And when the ball will get sprayed again out to the fringe and guys are open, it is arduous to mention, ‘OK, simply force it proper again to the lend a hand once more and hope they transfer out of the way in which.'”
UP NEXT: Recreation Three is about for Friday night time in Oklahoma Town.