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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Takeaways from Damian Lillard's game-winning shot to lead Trail Blazers over Thunder

Damian Lillard celebrates after knocking down the game-winner.
Damian Lillard celebrates after knocking down the game-winner. (Getty Images)

In what was one of the best games of the NBA Playoffs so far, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-115 to close out the series.

Damian Lillard was on another level in this one scoring 50 points, capped off by a 37-foot step-back 3-pointer in Paul George's face to win the game and send the Thunder home.

George had a big game as well going for 36 points while Russell Westbrook notched a triple-double of 29 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.

For more on the Blazers' series-clinching victory, we have you covered with takeaways...

Lillard's first half

Damian Lillard has been a problem all series.

His Trail Blazers teams have been swept in the first round of the playoffs two seasons in a row and with his team one game away from advancing out of the first round for the first time since 2016, Lillard did everything he could to try and make it happen.

The All-Star point guard absolutely exploded in the first half - he scored 19 points in the first quarter, catching fire immediately. If you thought he was going to cool off, you were wrong. He went for 15 points in the second quarter, scoring 34 points in the half.

That scoring total was the most points scored in a half in the playoffs since Steve Nash scored 35 points in the first half of the 2005 Conference Semifinals.

And he wasn't done yet...

Paul George showed he's OKC's number one

Russell Westbrook is a reigning MVP and collects triple-doubles more often than the sun rises, but Paul George is the man for them on both ends of the floor.

George took control of the game in the early going to get the Thunder out of the gates with 15 first quarter points.

His efficient first half was highlighted by a buzzer beater to end the first half.

George ended the contest with 36 points on a stunning 14-20 from the field, but the ball didn't find its way into his hands when the game was tied up at 115-all.

He was his brilliant self on both ends throughout the entire series and despite the series loss, can go out with his head held high.

Game of Runs

It was back and forth all game long, but several key runs in the third and fourth was where it was won and lost.

The Thunder fell behind in third quarter but didn't panic with plenty of time left on the clock and they responded in emphatic fashion to silence the crowd.

A 30-6 run left the Blazers crowd stunned and had the Thunder flying high in the final quarter as they held a 12 point lead.

Then a hero emerged and it wasn't Damian Lillard. It was injured big man Jusuf Nurkic.

After being flashed up on the big screen the crowd found their voice and the Blazers bounced back to end the game on a 13-2 run and steal the series.

All thanks to one dagger...

Lillard's game-winner

Dame finally cooled off a bit in the third quarter.

He scored eight points on 2-for-9 shooting and in the midst of that, the Thunder started their run to take over the lead.

Lillard checked back into the game in the fourth quarter and immediately made an impact. He dished out four assists in the final frame, opting to pass up shots with the defence collapsing on him due to his hot hand.

But with the game tied at 115 and the shot clock off, it was Lillard time.

Dame was isolated on Paul George, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, with the game clock winding down. With two seconds to go, Lillard took a step-back 3-pointer from the logo and got it to go, sending OKC home.

Lillard finished with 50 points on the game, a Trail Blazers' franchise playoff record.

He also had seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block while shooting 17-for-33 (51.5%) from the field and 10-for-18 (55.6%) from beyond the arc.

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