This play, said radio guy Matt Pinto, summed up Game One almost perfectly: Steven Adams and Enes Kanter wound up in a jump, Adams backtapped to Jerami Grant, and Evan Turner stole it right out from under Grant’s nose. There were, of course, other issues: the assumption that Kanter, being a less-than-inspiring defender, would be easy to elude, and the sheer spottiness of Thunder shooting. But if Kanter is no Jusuf Nurkić, he’s a very respectable presence on offense, and while OKC managed to pull within one once, Kanter’s offensive rebounds down the stretch made sure the Thunder didn’t do anything to get that close again. Then again, in the last minute, sometimes you have to foul, and the Thunder didn’t do that either. Portland 104, Oklahoma City 99, and the Blazers go up 1-0 in a series OKC might have thought of winning.
If the Thunder expects to come back, they have to start hitting the long ball; they jacked up 33 treys, and hit a mere five. Fifteen percent will not get you anywhere in a regular-season game, let alone in a playoff series. And it would help if they took Kanter (20 points, 18 rebounds, Nurkić-like numbers) a bit more seriously. Portland’s starting guards delivered 54 points, 30 from Damien Lillard, 24 from C. J. McCollum. OKC’s usual suspects got the usual numbers: Russell Westbrook had a triple-double (24-10-10), Paul George dropped in 26 and collected 10 boards before fouling out late. (Adams finished a hair behind Kanter, with 17 points and nine rebounds.) Neither bench was much of a presence, 21 from the Thunder reserves, 18 from the Blazers.
Game 2 is late Tuesday night at Portland; I don’t think the Blazers are worried. As yet, OKC’s given them no real reason to.