Portland Trail Blazers

NBA Playoffs 2019: Four Takeaways as the Portland Trail Blazers cruise to Game 2 win vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard
CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard (Getty Images)

With a comfortable 20-point win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Portland Trail Blazers become the first team in the 2019 playoffs to take a 2-0 series lead.

With their Game 1 win, the Blazers snapped a 10-game playoff losing streak while with this Game 2 win, they win consecutive postseason games for the first since 2016 (first round vs. the LA Clippers).

Despite trailing by 10 at one point in the first half, Portland turned the tables on their opponents by outscoring them 60-40 in the second half.

For more on this Game 2, we got you covered with the takeaways from the game...

Dame & CJ show

The Blazers starting backcourt of Damian Lillard combined for 54 points, 7 assists and 9 turnovers on 18-of-45 shooting (40.0%) in Game 1. They delivered even more in Game 2, combining for 64 points, 11 assists, and just 5 turnovers on 22-of-43 shooting (51.2%).

They also combined for 7 three-pointers, two more than the OKC Thunder had, on 46.7% efficiency.

Not only did they deliver on the improved efficiency but they also put on a show, knocking a buzzer beater each. On a dish from Lillard, McCollum knocked it down to end the first half:

Then Lillard did it himself, and pulled up from deep to beat the third quarter buzzer:

Both guards played for 37 minutes with McCollum finishing with a +23 while Lillard registered a +27.

3-point shooting mismatch

Although there were multiple areas the Thunder were outplayed in the loss, the most glaring one was their shooting from long distance.

Not known for their long-range prowess, even during the regular season (34.8% - 22nd), Oklahoma City only made 5 three-pointers on 28 attempts (17.9%) in Game 2.

On the other hand, the Blazers made more and with better efficiency, shooting 13-of-32 (40.6%) from distance.

The Thunder's dismal shooting from beyond the arc isn't a one-off. They were also sub-par in Game 1 where they shot 5-of-33 (15.2%) while allowing the Blazers to shoot 11-of-25 (44.0%).

Westbrook's shooting woes

The Thunder need all they can get from their stars on the offensive end, as offence doesn't come easy to this team.

Paul George stepped up from his Game 1 performance in the slightest, but Westbrook took a step back. OKC's leader couldn't find his rhythm in this one, shooting 5-for-20 from the field and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.

He finished with 14 points, the same scoring total the Blazers got from Maurice Harkless. With the pace that Lillard and McCollum were scoring at, the Thunder desperately needed Westbrook to keep up.

His efficiency was an issue to start the season but he had seemed to remedy that in the second half of the year.

Through the first two games this series he's shooting 33.0 percent (13-39) from the field and 10.0 percent (1-10) from long range - both numbers that need significant improvement going forward if his team is going to have a chance at digging out of this 0-2 hole.

Needing more from Jerami Grant

Grant had played the role of an X-factor for the Thunder all season.

In what has been a breakout year of sorts, upping both his scoring and rebounding averages while shooting the best 3-point percentage of his career, he's been absent so far in this series.

George struggled in Game 1, Westbrook struggled in this Game 2, and where Grant had made a living this season picking up his play when one of their two stars didn't have it, he hasn't been there.

In the series, Grant has a total of 13 points and nine rebounds. He's shooting 20.0 percent (3-15) from the field and is 0-for-8 from beyond the arc.

To top it off, he's minus-39 through two games - the worst plus/minus on the team.

He may not be the first player you point your finger at when the Thunder are struggling but it's time to hold him accountable for his play thus far.

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