Damian Lillard produced a clutch display of shooting to ensure the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Oklahoma City Thunder for a Game 1 victory on Sunday night.
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Lillard scored a game-high 30 points as the Blazers recorded a first playoff win since 2016, having suffered 4-0 opening round defeats for the last two years.
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It appeared more postseason agony could be on the way for the Blazers when they were given a tough first-round match-up with the Thunder, despite having secured the third seed.
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However, Lillard refused to let history repeat itself, hitting a deep three-pointer to set the tone with Portland’s first offensive possession of the game, which helped the home team take a 39-25 lead after 12 minutes.
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The Thunder displayed resilience to stay in the game and then closed to within a point with 2:35 remaining, which was when Lillard took centre stage once more.
The All-Star, who is renowned for his closing ability, took advantage of a lapse in concentration from opposing point guard Russell Westbrook, and drained a decisive three-pointer, after which the Blazers never looked back.
Click the video at the top of the page to watch Lillard’s clutch display, and watch Game 2 live on Sky Sports Arena in the early hours of Wednesday morning from 3:30am
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