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With big shot and a wave, Lillard sends sorry Thunder on their way

Sports | Apr 25, 2019
After Damian Lillard hit a three-pointer to send the Portland Trail Blazers along in the NBA playoffs, he waved goodbye to the Oklahoma City Thunder bench.

"That was having the last word," he said.

Lillard finished with a franchise playoff-record 50 points as Portland eliminated Oklahoma City in five games with a 118-115 victory.

With the game tied, Lillard dribbled just inside of halfcourt and then pulled up for the game-winner at the buzzer from 37 feet. After his wave, Lillard was mobbed by his teammates and the home crowd chanted "MVP! MVP!"

"All of those things that we did to give ourselves a chance to win were huge," said Lillard, who hit 10 three-pointers. "And my part in it was probably my most important performance."

Portland advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals to face either the Denver Nuggets or San Antonio Spurs. Denver lead their first-round series 3-2 after a 108-90 win.

It was the 12th straight road playoff loss for the Thunder, who have been eliminated in the first round for three seasons in a row.

Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists for the Thunder. Paul George added 36 points.

"Very, very disappointing," George said. "We let this one slip away."

Elsewhere, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets 120-100 to set up an Eastern Conference semi-final clash against the Toronto Raptors.

Led by Kawhi Leonard's 27 points, the Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 115-96 to wrap up their series 4-1.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse predicted a "great series" against the 76ers.

ASSOCIATED PRESS



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