Thunder's George active for Game 1 vs. Blazers

  • Thunder's George active for Game 1 vs. Blazers

Thunder's George active for Game 1 vs. Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers managed to cross the 50-win barrier for the first time since the 2014-15 season and yet despite their high-level play, the Blazers find themselves on upset alert for the second consecutive season in a battle against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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.

Lillard wasted no time to get in the scoring column in this one, pulling up from the Moda Center logo for his first bucket of the game.

The Thunder defense arrived in the second quarter, holding the Blazers to 30 percent shooting and just 15 points - which allowed OKC to chip away at the double-digit deficit.

While Westbrook was part of the Thunder's 3-point problem, missing all four of his attempts from deep, he wasn't the root of OKC's issues.

Some of that improvement, at least relative to the matchup with the Rockets, was displayed early in the season when the Jazz claimed the first two meetings with Houston by a total of 38 points. Portland hurt its cause with 10 first-half turnovers. The Thunder did not make any of their six 3-point attempts, while Portland was 7 of 10.

Oklahoma City got within 93-92 on George's 3-pointer, but Lillard answered with another long 3 to keep the Blazers ahead. Al-Farouq Aminu made free throws with 2:09 left to extend Portland's lead to 98-92. Kanter pulled down timely offensive rebounds and drove for a layup late in the game to put Portland up six with 11 seconds remaining. Schroder scored on a drive to cut it to 102-99 with 4.2 ticks left.

Damian Lillard showed up when the Blazers needed him the most in Game 1.

Despite trailing by as many as 19, and for all but 23 seconds of the game, the Thunder hung around in the fourth quarter - getting within three on a Dennis Schroder three-pointer at the 9-minute mark.

Portland jumped out to a 26-15 lead early on McCollum's third 3-pointer.

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