It's a shot that will be replayed for years to come, one of the all-time postseason moments as Damian Lillard closed out the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games from nearly 40 feet to give himself an even 50 points and his team a spot in the second round. But there was no celebrating, no trash talking, no taunting, no dunks at the buzzer.
With the game tied, Lillard dribbled just inside of halfcourt near the Blazers logo and then pulled up and hit the game-winner at the buzzer from 37-feet.
"I didn't want to put it into the referee hands".
It was back and forth all game long, but several key runs in the third and fourth was where it was won and lost.
With George clearly being the hot-hand tonight, Westbrook, as we've seen for essentially all of the past decade, chose to take matters into his own hands. There hasn't been a game in the series played within four points. But with Portland moving on and his former team heading home, Kanter's tweet said everything about the satisfaction this victory provided. "I was proud we were able to stick to that".
"We just kind of came up with some empty possessions", said Donovan. We'll get in the flow. We've established that, it's time to move on. Talk to our team.
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The Blazers sometimes seem like everyone's second favorite team, and Lillard sometimes seems like everyone's second favorite superstar, but it had been a while since either one has been at the center of any National Basketball Association conversation. He was more restrained as well, but that might have had more to do with the fact he didn't have many more opportunities to talk. He missed his final 10 shots and was 0 for 7 for one point in the second half.
Russell Westbrook was able to translate his playmaking into double-digit assists in Games 1 and 2 in spite of the Thunder's poor shooting. It was only the second time in Westbrook's playoff career he went scoreless in the paint. And while Westbrook took to verbal interaction and rocking the baby the definitive moment of the duo's battle may well have been the powerful block Russ administered on Dame. When I'm in the paint, I find guys on the perimeter. He's been out playing Russell Westbrook every single night. "Back up! Back up!" Six of those field goals were 3-pointers. However, as good as Paul George was, Damian Lillard answered. "And that's what we're living with". Overall, the Thunder shot 15-of-29 from beyond the arc, easily combining for more triples than the first two games combined (10). As he left the floor, Kanter kept repeating to himself, "One more, one more, one more".
Portland is a team's team, but in the end, it was their star that they needed. The oddsmakers apparently like the Thunder to even up the series in Game 4.
"It was a little bit different", Lillard said. I honestly think we fed off that.
"This is a series where he is by far the best big man and he's not really having an impact on it".
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