Exclusive PLAYOFFS: ROUND 1, GAME 1: THUNDER @ BLAZERS - APRIL 14, 2019 - Quote Book

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  1. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    Postgame Notes - April 14, 2019
    (3) Portland 104, (6) Oklahoma City 99
    2019 NBA Playoffs • First Round, Game No. 1

    TEAM

    • The Trail Blazers lead the Thunder, 1-0, in their best-of-seven First Round series.
    • Portland shot 11-of-25 from the three-point line (44.0%) while the Thunder shot 5-of-33 from deep (15.2%).
    • The Trail Blazers recorded nine blocks to Oklahoma City’s four, while the Thunder had 10 steals to Portland’s eight.
    • Portland scored 39 points in the first quarter on 12-of-20 shooting (7-10 3-PT, 8-10 FT) to take a 39-25 lead.
    • Oklahoma City outrebounded Portland, 49-48, and won the battle on the offensive glass, 18-13.

    PLAYER

    • Damian Lillard led Portland with 30 points (9-21 FG, 5-11 3-PT, 7-8 FT) to go with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. It was the 11th time he has scored at least 30 points in his postseason career.
    • With his 29th point, Damian Lillard (866 postseason points) passed Rasheed Wallace (864 postsesaon points) for fourth on Portland’s all-time postseason scoring list.
    • CJ McCollum finished with 24 points (9-24 FG, 3-7 3-PT, 3-5 FT) to go with six rebounds and three assists. It was the fourth straight postseason game that McCollum scored at least 20 points.
    • Enes Kanter finished with 20 points (8-15 FG, 4-6 FT) and a postseason career-high 18 rebounds to go with two assists, one steal and two blocks. It was the third double-double of his postseason career.
    • Enes Kanter is the third player in franchise history to record at least 20 points and 18 rebounds in a playoff game (Walton - three times, Aldridge - once).
    • In the first playoff game of his career, Seth Curry recorded eight points (3-6 FG, 2-3 3-PT), two steals and one block.
    • Al-Farouq Aminu logged 10 points (2-5 FG, 6-6 FT), seven rebounds and three blocks. His three blocks matched his postseason career high (third time).
    • Maurice Harkless registered two points (1-5 FG), six rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks.
    • Russell Westbrook recorded the ninth triple-double of his postseason career, finishing with 24 points (8-17 FG, 0-4 3-PT, 8-8 FT), 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
    • Paul George finished with 26 points (8-24 FG, 4-15 3-PT, 6-6 FT), 10 rebounds and four steals. He scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter.
     
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  2. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    HEAD COACH TERRY STOTTS

    “Obviously it’s good to get the first one here at home. I thought it was a really hard fought game, very competitive. It was good that we got off to a good start in the first quarter. We had a lot of energy, the crowd was into the game but more importantly, I thought the plays we made to win the game in the fourth quarter – Enes getting big time rebounds, taking care of the ball, Dame made some big shots – so 48 minutes is a long time. The fact that we lost a big lead early in the game, you almost kind of anticipate that in the NBA, but the way we closed it out was good for us.”


    How would you describe what Kanter gave you today and his game?

    “He gave us a lot of toughness inside. Obviously his rebounding and scoring, I thought his conditioning was really good. He maintained a high level of play for a long period of time. I don’t know if we anticipated the left-handed scoop shot but that came in handy as well.”


    On Paul George having tough shooting night – what did your guys do to slow him down in terms of his drives?

    “Well he didn’t shoot the ball well from three and that’s been a big difference in our regular season games. To be honest, I think we gave him too many open three looks and that’s going to be a concern going into game 2. But he’s a great player, he’s going to get his shot attempts. I thought we did a nice job of changing different guys on him whether it’s Chief or Rodney or Moe or Evan, knowing that he’s always an option, they do a good job of staggering his minutes. He keeps him fresh. My biggest concern with him is that he had too many threes. We can’t allow him to get away from us as much as we did.”


    Kanter’s reputation was that his defensive limitations made him hard to play in the playoffs, did you think he could more effective in your system and have you seen him grow?

    “I’ve heard about that. I think it’s unfortunate a lot of times you get a reputation and the reputation kind of sticks with you whether you deserve it or not. I think Enes has really been good for us defensively. He gives great effort. He wants to do what we want to do. One on one against Steven Adams, he can hold his own on the block. Pick and roll defense, he gives good effort, he’s communicating so as a coach all you can ask for is that a player is giving effort, trying to do what you want him to do. Enes has been like that from day one with us.”


    On the importance of this win with this group after prior years:

    “Honestly, it doesn’t have anything to do with last year. You’re in the playoffs and every game is important. Game one is important, game two is important, winning home court is important. So it really has nothing to do with what happened last year, it’s about what we have to do to win this series.”


    On the play of Harkless and Aminu tonight:

    “If you look at the box score, it doesn’t stand out to you and I think anybody that watches us play appreciates what Moe and Chief give us every night. Defensively, they usually have a tough assignment. Tonight obviously with Paul George, one of those two guys is usually on him. They both took the challenge, the defensive challenge. They’re not involved in the offense a lot of times unless somebody creates things for them, but they bring it every night. Tonight was no different.”


    How important is it to have guys like Lillard and McCollum that can create offense and make three pointers?

    “In the NBA, as many guys as you can have that can create and make their own shots, it puts you at an advantage. So Dame and CJ in particular has as that ability. Paul George obviously does for them and Westbrook. It’s an important part of the game at both ends – defending those type of players and having those type of players carry some of the offensive load.”
     
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  3. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    DAMIAN LILLARD

    How good does it feel to go out and play the way you know you’re capable of after last year?

    “It’s a great feeling. We came into this series knowing that we’ve got to be the team that delivers the first blow, we’ve got to come out aggressive and make a stand. Regardless of it’s a win or a loss, we made it a point to come out here and be aggressive and just have that attitude of we’re going to be here all night. We did that and we got the first one.”


    How much was Kanter a help and did you have any sense of how much he wanted this game against his former team/teammate Adams?

    “Any time you’re going up against a team you’ve played for, especially in the most important game, series of the year, you’re going to want to play well. You’re going to want to come up on the winning side. So I think we understood that he was going to come out ready to play just off of that alone, but he was the MVP of the game, especially down the stretch getting us second opportunities, third opportunities. He had a huge presence down the stretch and played a huge part in us winning this game.”


    After getting up big, what was your mindset when they were able to come back and then close it to one?

    “We knew it was going to be a fight all night long, even at the beginning of the game we were up I think 17 at one point, I wasn’t looking at the scoreboard like alright, let’s put them away. I was like, let’s just stay solid, keep competing, keep playing hard. The way we’re playing right now is a type of game we can sustain and it’s in our favor, so that’s all my mindset was and that’s all we kept preaching in our huddles. Then when they made their runs and when they get back in the game, just weather those storms. Whenever they go on a run, don’t let them take over the game. Also make them earn it. I thought we did a great job of that over four quarters.”


    They were 5 of 33 from three – what were you doing to make those shots more difficult?

    “I don’t think it was really anything we did. It was actually one of the things we need to do a better job of going into the second game, because a lot of times it was Paul George. I think he shot half of them and he’s the last guy we want shooting those shots. Some of the ones he got were open and he just happened to miss them tonight. We don’t want to give that many three point attempts up. Any time you allow a team to take that many threes, it’s not good if they make 13 or 14 of those. We’ve got to tighten up and try not to allow that, but we love it when they miss them.”


    How would you describe how your body feels after taking some hits and a physical game?

    “I mean, I feel fine. Obviously, we know coming into the playoffs it’s going to be physical. You’re going to have some bruises, you’re going to have some hard falls, but sometimes it’s not as bad as it looked. Sometimes I hit the floor like the one where I fell kind of into the first row, it wasn’t as bad as it looked. I took an elbow – -- my eye is kind of swollen, but it’s not as bad as it looks. It’s a good thing we’ve got time in between game to kind of shore those things up and take care of ourselves.”


    On Kanter’s reputation of being better offensively than defensively; what have you seen from him defensively?

    “Just his effort. I think when we come into training camp we establish what our principles are, the things that we do on this team defensively and offensively. For us to have got him halfway through the season, you go from coming off the bench playing in the second group, against second groups, and then Nurk goes down and now you’re playing against starters, you’re playing more minutes, and he’s just been trying his best. It’s a lot of guys who aren’t great defenders. I’m not considered a great defender, but I think when the effort is there, when your focus is there and you care enough, the desire is there, you can do something for the team. I think that’s shown since he’s been on our team and it showed tonight.”


    Is there any sense of vindication from tonight after last year?

    “Last year we didn’t win a game, this year we did. We’ve gone two playoffs without winning a game so obviously it’s a good feeling to get back on the winning side. It’s only one game. That’s all it is. We know how it feels to win a game and now we can just kind of move on from that and stay focused on this series.”
     
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  4. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    ENES KANTER

    On the importance of defense

    “I think defense is all about communication for us. I think we did a very good job communicating on the pick and rolls and trusting each other. I know every time I got beat or somebody else got beat, my teammates have got my back and I’ve got their back.

    On going into game two

    “We can’t worry about [Oklahoma City’s] misses or makes. I think everybody did a good job contesting the shots. We just won game one, we didn’t finish the job, we only won one game. We can’t be too happy, if we lose, we can’t be too sad. We’ve got to go out there to the second game with the same mindset and play tougher and play more physical.”

    On making adjustments

    “We’re going to attack more on the pick and roll. We’re going to score the ball. I sit down with the assistant coaches and watch [game] clips for hours and hours. The Thunder still attack, a few players like Steven Adams, Russell Westbrook and Paul George, it’s tough to stop them. But I think we did our best to stay in front of them.
     
  5. KingSpeed

    KingSpeed Veteran

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    Thanks Sly. Hey guys. All the NBA Playoff Press Conferences are available on YouTube if you want to hear these guys talk.
     
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  6. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    C.J. McCOLLUM

    On replying to his Twitter critic, Jennifer:

    “Aw man, I appreciate her.”

    On the trash talk that occurred during the game:

    “Whatever it takes to get our team going. This is the playoffs, four games away from elimination, so for me like I said before: we’re wearing white jerseys, so I’m on the white team…say something to me, I’ll say something back, but we’re just playing basketball so it’s all fun. We just compete hard, we play clean basketball, play hard, and have fun…I’m just trying to keep enjoying the game, and I did.”

    On Enes Kanter’s performance against his former team:

    “We just gave him the ball and let him make his own decisions; when to pass, when to shoot, playing strong around the basket, he was plus-15, he rebounded the ball, he used his left hand tonight a couple of times, so I was really impressed with the strong step and the high left-hand finish down the stretch of the game…we need every rebound, we need every point and I think that he knew that regardless of playing against his former team.”

    On Kanter’s defensive performance since he came to Portland:

    “I think he works, that’s the biggest thing…he puts the effort forward, he communicates, he moved his feet tonight…obviously, Russ (Westbrook) coming downhill, PG (Paul George) coming downhill, Schroder coming downhill, those are tough covers for any big man in the league and I thought he held his ground well, he held his ground against Steven Adams and showed his versatility…I think he’s done a great job for us, and obviously he’s been a key acquisition for us with Nurk going down…we need him producing at a high level.”

    On ending the Blazers’ ten game playoff losing streak:

    “It’s good to get a win at home…our goal isn’t to win one game, but we want to take advantage of this home-court advantage…I think we played well, a lot of things that we can improve upon…I think last year was a good experience for us, we learned a lot of things from it…now we know what it takes to win here at home and we’re up for the challenge.”

    On defending the Thunder’s transition offense:

    “I think we were up-and-down tonight…we had a good first quarter, didn’t turn the ball over too much…then second quarter they had twelve points in transition, so they were able to get out and run on our turnovers and obviously Russ if he gets a rebound, he’s pushing, if he gets a steal, they’re pushing, so we’ve got to load up.”
     
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  7. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    HEAD COACH BILLY DONOVAN

    “I thought that certainly our defense in the first quarter was not where it needed to be; it got better as the game went on…take that first quarter, I think they were seven of ten from three, and then we did a really good job from there defending the three. Obviously, offensively we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, either from the field or from the three-point line…that was certainly a factor in the game. I think that the first quarter we were kind of playing from behind, playing catch-up, and I thought in that second and third quarter we defended pretty well and did a pretty good job defensively in the fourth quarter as well.”

    On Enes Kanter’s inside presence:

    “He does what he always does, offensive rebounds…it’s where a lot of his points came from, he had one face-up and maybe a couple of post-ups…but Enes has been doing that for a long time.”

    On the impact of Paul George’s sore right shoulder impacting his performance:

    “I think he’ll be fine, but when you don’t play for a while and you’re kind of limited in what you want to do because you’re trying to get yourself back healthy, it’s just going to be a matter of him trying to find his rhythm.”

    On the Thunder’s shot selection:

    “I thought we were well-balanced on offense in terms of shots we got, we got downhill, we got to the front of the rim, we scored points in the paint and I thought we got really good open looks, but listen, we just didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from behind the three-point line…they got it going in that first quarter, but our defense…it’s a little bit misleading because I don’t know what they were after that first quarter, but I felt like we defended a little bit better, and maybe they feel the same way we did, they had good shots that they just didn’t make…but I thought our defense was better after the first [quarter].”

    On Russell Westbrook’s performance:

    “He was downhill, our team was downhill…we were in the paint, that’s what we want to do is that’s what we think that’s how we’ve tried to play all year long…I thought he did a really good job spreading the ball out, find Steven, find Paul, find different guys for shots; at times, I thought it was contagious to our team, we moved the ball…I didn’t feel like we labored offensively, I didn’t feel like we were really struggling…I thought it was a grind for us, I thought they didn’t shoot a great percentage after the first quarter and neither did we, so there’s a lot of broken floor situations where we were able to get out in transition…we didn’t capitalize on the break and certainly didn’t capitalize when we had opportunities to score.”
     
  8. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    PAUL GEORGE

    Both Stotts and Lillard said the way you shot the three had more to do with you missing than their defensive; did you like the looks you were getting and how did you feel?

    “Yeah, I thought we got great looks, great looks all night. For me, it’s just rhythm. Four days ago I couldn’t even lift my shoulder and then fast forward to today, it was the first day I shot the ball so with me, it’s just rhythm. Tomorrow, we get shots up and get back in tune and try to get the same looks that we got tonight.”


    Did you feel like they were more physical with you given the injury situation?

    “Nah, they’re going to try to do whatever they can to stop me. It’s nothing new, nothing different. We’re good over here.”


    You said it’s been a couple days since you shot – were you feeling anything physically when you were going into your shooting motion? Does it have any effect or was it just a rhythm only thing?

    “It’s just rhythm only. Trainers did an excellent job of getting me prepared to play today. That’s all it is, just rhythm.”
     
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  9. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    RUSSELL WESTBROOK

    Did you feel like you found a groove defensively after the first quarter?

    “I thought we did a good job. I thought they came out hot shooting the basketball and I thought we weathered the storm and did a good job of limiting those shots in the last three quarters, but put ourselves in a position to have a chance to win the basketball game.”


    It looked like you tweaked your ankle, how is that feeling?

    “It’s okay, it’s alright.”


    How encouraged are you even though it was a loss?

    “Very. It’s a series, the first to four. They won the first game. That’s a part of the series, make adjustments, come back, play harder the next game and try to take care of business.”
     
  10. KingSpeed

    KingSpeed Veteran

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    Westbrook said "Next question" to the first two questions that were totally reasonable questions. He's a dick. Dame is class act.
     
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  11. TorturedBlazerFan

    TorturedBlazerFan Well-Known Member

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    To be fair he really doesnt like the guy who asked him those questions.
     
  12. Chris Craig

    Chris Craig Blazersland Staff Member Moderator

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    What were the questions?
     
  13. Jon

    Jon mr. 300

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    I think the best quote of the night was Mike Breen's "Lillard...BANG! FROM WAY DOWNTOWN!!"

    Absolutely love his commentating.
     
  14. kjironman1

    kjironman1 Talkin Truth! and Pissin People off!

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    To me the best part of that quote was that about 2 seconds before that he was saying that Lillard was something very special in the league. Then BANG! FROM WAY DOWNTOWN!
     
  15. kjironman1

    kjironman1 Talkin Truth! and Pissin People off!

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  16. EGame

    EGame "You're the only one of these fools I trust"

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    I enjoy Breen and Van Gundy quite a bit. Marc Jackson is kind of annoying and I could do without, but it was nice to have the other two commentating on our game today.,
     
  17. EGame

    EGame "You're the only one of these fools I trust"

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    I saw him say this earlier when watching the post game conferences. Not sure what its in reference too. Jennifer who? Lopez?
     
  18. kjironman1

    kjironman1 Talkin Truth! and Pissin People off!

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  19. SlyPokerDog

    SlyPokerDog Woof! Staff Member Administrator

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. kjironman1

    kjironman1 Talkin Truth! and Pissin People off!

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    She responded with this
     
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