Lillard’s cold-blooded 37-footer at the buzzer Tuesday night gave the Portland Trail Blazers a thrilling 118-115 victory in Game 5, and sent OKC home for the summer.
George, Russell Westbrook and the rest the Thunder must now pick up the pieces following a “very disappointing” postseason.
Per The Oklahoman:
Paul George called the 37-footer a “bad shot.” He was as wrong as the collapse the Thunder exposed its faithful to this campaign. No Lillard shot over the span of the last 11 days was bad, and as he raised his hand and waved the Thunder into a final collapse, the roar of the Moda Center’s capacity crowd added even more insult to the Thunder’s now infamy.
“He just made big shots,” said George, who scored 36 points on 14-of-20 shooting. “I tip my hat off. Contested. Thirty-five plus feet out. It was his night and he felt it.”
Westbrook finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, but it took an inefficient 31 shots. He oscillated between his penchant for big misfires and big plays. His missed mid-range shot and breakaway layup in the second quarter directly led to the Blazers’ first lead. Two ill-advised 3-point misses and a panicked pass to George were the roots of a 9-0 Blazers run toward the end of the third quarter.
Portland mounted a 12-point comeback in the fourth quarter to advance to the second round. On the other end of a memorable final push by the Thunder, there was also an inexplicable collapse Westbrook could only describe as “very disappointing.”