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Blazers end losing streak with defeat of Thunder

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By Agence France-Presse

The Portland Trail Blazers snapped their 10-game postseason losing streak on Sunday, defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-99 to claim their first playoff win in three years.

The Blazers have endured a miserable record in the playoffs in recent years, suffering back-to-back first round sweeps in 2017 and 2018 against Golden State and New Orleans.

On Sunday however Portland’s three-year wait for a postseason win came to an end, as Damian Lillard inspired a battling victory over the sixth-seeded Thunder.

Lillard went nine-of-21 from the field on his way to 30 points in 38 minutes, adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

He was backed by C.J. McCollum, who added 24 points from nine-of-24 shooting with six rebounds and three assists.

Turkish international Enes Kanter meanwhile reminded his former Thunder team-mates of his talent, posting a double-double of 20 points and 18 rebounds.

Lillard said Kanter’s fired-up contribution had tipped the balance for the Blazers.

“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. “And you’re going to want to come out on the winning side.

“We understood that he was going to come out ready to play. And he was the MVP of the game, especially down the stretch.

“He had a huge presence and played a big part in us winning this game.”

Al-Farouq Aminu added 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

Oklahoma City’s scoring was led by Paul George with 26 points and Russell Westbrook, who added 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for yet another triple double.