Blazers eliminate Thunder

Source:AFP Published: 2019/4/24 19:43:39

Lillard scores 50 points, sinks buzzer-beater


Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant on Tuesday in Portland. Photo: IC



Damian Lillard sank a three-pointer on the buzzer to cap a 50-point display as the Portland Trail Blazers completed a late fightback to send Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder crashing out of the NBA playoffs on Tuesday.

Needing a win to keep the best-of-seven series alive, Oklahoma City appeared to be on their way to forcing a Game 6 after overturning a nine-point deficit at the end of the third period to open up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.

But a sensational burst of scoring hauled the Blazers back within striking distance as their home fans at the Moda Center roared them on.

Lillard leveled the score at 115-115 with a driving layup and when Westbrook subsequently fluffed a chance to restore Oklahoma City's lead with 18.3 seconds left, Portland ace Lillard was left with a chance to grab the win.

The 28-year-old point guard took his time, eating up the final few seconds before sinking a three-pointer from long-range to seal a 118-115 win and a 4-1 series victory.

Earlier, Lillard had kept Portland in contention almost single-handedly, playing all 24 minutes of the first half and knocking down 12 of 18 shot attempts to score 34 points by the break.

His first-half exploits appeared to have caught up with him as the Blazers flagged in the third period.

But the Portland talisman led a mesmerizing late rally to finish with 50 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Maurice Harkness added 17 points, Enes Kanter added 13 and C.J. McCollum finished with 17.

It was a disappointing end to the ­season for Westbrook, who added a triple-­double comprising 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists.

Paul George led the Thunder scoring with 36 points, adding nine rebounds and three assists in a losing effort.

Portland will face either Denver or San Antonio in the next round. The Nuggets took a 3-2 lead in their series after a 108-90 win earlier on Tuesday.

In the Eastern Conference, the ­Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers set up a heavyweight playoff battle after completing comfortable series victories.

The Sixers sealed a 4-1 series win after routing the Brooklyn Nets 122-100 while the Raptors swept to an emphatic 115-96 dismissal of the Orlando Magic to also win their series 4-1.

Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 23 points at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo ­Center.



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