Behind another backcourt takeover, Blazers grab 3-1 lead over Thunder

Despite missing star center Jusuf Nurkic and facing a dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder team, the Portland Trail Blazers are suddenly a win away from their first series win in three years.

Starting with an 11-0 run to close out the first half, the Blazers quickly pulled away from the Thunder and notched a 111-98 Game 4 win to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 21: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers dunks the ball during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Four of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Damian Lillard has been unreal for the Blazers this series. (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

At the center of the Blazers’ win was a dramatic difference in point guard play, usually the Thunder’s avenue for winning games. Damian Lillard continued what has been a stellar series, posting 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting and eight assists, with 15 points coming in a pivotal third quarter.

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook posted a grand total of one point in the second half. The Thunder star finished a game to forget with 14 points on 5-of-21 shooting. He probably isn’t going to want to talk about that.

Lillard’s co-star for the game was, who else, C.J. McCollum, who had a team-high 27 points. While Lillard’s third-quarter performance gave the Blazers the lead, it was McCollum’s fourth quarter that kept the Thunder from mounting a true comeback.

Now, the Blazers find themselves needing just one win in the next three games, two of them at home, to advance.

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