Portland wins Game 1 against the Thunder 104-99

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George is day-to-day with right shoulder soreness

The never-quiet Kanter first took it to the Thunder, who traded him to the Knicks in 2017 in the Carmelo Anthony trade, and then he redirected his focus toward those Knicks, who bought him out during a miserable season.

Westbrook appeared to hurt his right ankle in the final quarter and grimaced while trying to walk it off. Trainers attended to him on the bench at the next timeout but he returned and his layup closed the gap to 91-87 with just under 4 minutes left.

Portland led by as many as 19 points in the first half, but the Thunder pulled within 80-77 early in the fourth quarter.

George says he's going to do everything he can to get as close to 100 percent as he can and hopes to play.

"Couple days ago I looked in the mirror and said, 'Man, I'm blessed to just be here with an unbelievable organization and fantastic teammates'".

"Last year we didn't win a game and this year we did", Lillard continued on the topic. "With the situation and all the drama, it was so frustrating because all I just wanted to [do was] go out there and just win. Even at the beginning of the game when we were up like 17 at one point, I wasn't looking at the scoreboard like, 'Let's put them away".

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It was the first postseason meeting between the teams since the Thunder moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City. The Trailblazers are 7-24-2 ATS in their last 33 Conference Quarterfinals games, 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning record and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Tuesday games.

Kanter, signed just before the All-Star break after he was waived by the New York Knicks, has started in Nurkic's place. You could nearly feel Thunder coach Billy Donovan - who had once famously mouthed the words "Can't play Kanter" in a playoff game against the Houston Rockets - grinning on the visiting bench. "They won the first game", Westbrook said.

He was backed by C.J. McCollum, who added 24 points from nine-of-24 shooting with six rebounds and three assists.

Of course, what happens during the regular season doesn't always carry over into the postseason and that was the case in Game 1 of this series. The Blazers went into the fourth quarter with a 76-69 lead.

Coming into this regular season, the Blazers had a lot of question marks. Bill Walton did it three times and LaMarcus Aldridge once. "Obviously, his rebounding and scoring".

"Any time you're going up against a team you played for, in the most important series of the year, you're going to want to play well", Lillard said.

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