Portland takes Game 1 against Oklahoma

NBA Playoff Series Previews Trail Blazers vs. Thunder

NBA Playoff Series Previews Trail Blazers vs. Thunder

Damian Lillard on Kanter's contributions in Game 1.

CJ McCollum added 24 points for the Blazers, while Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth career postseason triple-double for the Thunder.

Kanter, who came to the Knicks in 2017 from Oklahoma City in the Carmelo Anthony trade, averaged 14 points and 10.8 rebounds in 115 games over two seasons.

After helping the Portland Trail Blazers exorcise their playoff demons, Enes Kanter strolled toward the Moda Center home locker room when a familiar face stopped him before he reached the double doors.

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Damian Lillard of the Blazers reacts after making a shot in a National Basketball Association playoff game against Oklahoma City.

Portland led by as many as 19 points in the first half, but the Thunder pulled within 80-77 early in the fourth quarter. Lillard answered with a long 3-pointer to keep the Blazers ahead and Al-Farouq Aminu made free throws to extend Portland's lead to 98-92.

Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds in just 24 minutes, as the Milwaukee began their hunt for a playoff championship ring with a 121-86 blowout of the Pistons in game one. "He had a huge presence down the stretch and played a huge part in us winning this game", said Lillard.

It was the first postseason meeting between the teams since the Thunder moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City. For the game, he made four of 15 3-point attempts. Westbrook led the way for OKC, finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on 8-of-17 shooting.

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Kanter, signed just before the All-Star break after he was waived by the New York Knick, has started in Nurkic's place. Led by guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, they stormed back to a No. 3 seed this year. 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.

The Thunder's only lead was in the opening quarter. And it was only two months ago that Kanter was languishing on the Knicks' bench, racking up DNP's and wondering if he would see the court again this season.

"A lot of times, you get a reputation and the reputation kind of sticks with you, whether you deserve it or not", Stotts said. I thought his conditioning was really good.

"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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On Sunday at Toyota Center, the Rockets will host Utah in Game 1 of this first-round series.

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