Blazers Whop Thunder, Take A 2-0 Series Lead

 

----- Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combine for 62 points as the Portland Trail Blazers dominate the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-94 Tuesday night at Moda Center to take a 2-0 series lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference first round playoff series.

Damian Lillard made a statement on Tuesday night!

Lillard once again dominated his match up against Russell Westbrook as the Portland Trail Blazers took command of their first round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a dominating 114-94 win Tuesday night at Moda Center. Lillard finished the night with 29 points, four rebounds, and six assists connecting on four of his eight shots from three-point range. Lillard spearheaded the team's defensive effort with great energy. He finished with three steals and showed great hustle throwing his body all over the place.

Just like he did in Game one, Westbrook struggled to make shots scoring just 14 points on 5-for-20 shooting. In two games, Westbrook is an abysmal 1-for-10 from three-point range and appears frustrated by the way Lillard is attacking him on both ends of the floor.

''I've got to play better,'' Westbrook said. ''Tonight, the loss, I'm going to take full responsibility of tonight because the way I played was unacceptable. I'm going to be better.''

Lillard had plenty of support from his teammates. CJ McCollum scored a game-high 33 points on 12-for-22 shooting. He was aggressive early finding his spots and getting into a good rhythm on offense.

Maurice Harkless set the tone early on defense as he chased Paul George around the court playing physical defense. Harkless played one of his best games of the season finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds. Harkless helped hold George to 27 points on just 2-for-7 shooting from three-point range.

''With this team it's physical. It's physical every time we've played them,'' Harkless said. ''It's only magnified now and it's only going to get more physical.''

Even with the early success in the series, Lillard knows the series is far from over.

“I’m like happy about it but I really don’t care," Lillard said. "So we’ve just got to maintain our focus, stay sharp in the things we’ve been sharp in and understand how well we played in the first game and the second game is not going to be good enough in the third game, especially on their home floor. we’ve got to keep our heads down and keep working."

With Enes Kanter suffering from early foul trouble, Terry Stotts got quality minutes from his bench with Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard. Collins and Leonard combined for 11 points and eight rebounds in nearly 30-minutes of action providing great energy, hustle, and defense. Both players embraced the physical nature of the game.

The Thunder got off to a strong start taking a 31-26 at the end of the first. That extended their lead to 46-36 with 5:00 to play in the first half before Portland started to take control of the game. A McCollum three-pointer as the second quarter buzzer sounded capped off an 18-8 Blazers' run tying the game at 54 heading into the break.

The Blazers took charge in third outscoring the Thunder 37-21 and were never threatened again.

Up Next- The Blazers will travel to Oklahoma City for games 3 and 4 of the series. Game 3 is scheduled to tip off on Friday evening at 6:30 PM Pacific.

Chad's Take- In their history, Portland is 14-0 when they take a 2-0 series lead.

 

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