Basketball / NBA

Guards shine as Trail Blazers take 2-0 lead over Thunder

AP

CJ McCollum had 33 points, Damian Lillard added 29 and the Portland Trail Blazers took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 114-94 victory on Tuesday night.

Maurice Harkless added 14 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Blazers, who opened a playoff series with two wins for the first time since the 2014 playoffs, when they beat Houston in six games.

The series shifts to Oklahoma City for Game 3 on Friday.

“Now we’ve got to go on the road and get gritty,” McCollum said.

Russell Westbrook, who had his ninth career postseason triple-double in Oklahoma City’s Game 1 loss, finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists. He was pulled with 3:31 with most of his fellow starters after Portland built a 112-91 lead.

Paul George had 27 points despite lingering questions about his right shoulder, which was covered with kinesiology tape. George insisted the shoulder, which kept him out of the Thunders’ regular-season finale, was fine at practice on Monday even though it was wrapped in ice.

The Blazers were up 91-75 after three and easily protected their lead in the fourth, with Seth Curry’s 3-pointer pushing the lead to 100-83.

Portland’s victory in Game 1 snapped a 10-game postseason losing streak that included four-game sweeps in the past two seasons — first by the Warriors and then last year by the Pelicans. Lillard had 30 points in the 104-99 win on Sunday.

Oklahoma City beat the Blazers in all four meetings during the regular season. The Thunder have been to the playoffs for eight of the last nine seasons, but they haven’t gotten past the opening round for the past two.

Raptors 111, Magic 82

In Toronto, Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points, Kyle Lowry bounced back from a scoreless playoff opener with 22 and the Raptors routed Orlando to even their Eastern Conference first-round series at one win apiece.

Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who never trailed and led by as many as 34.

Game 3 is Friday night in Orlando.

Nuggets 114, Spurs 105

In Denver, Jamal Murray missed his first eight shots before a scorching fourth quarter in which he scored 21 of his 24 points, leading the Nuggets past San Antonio and knotting their playoff series at a game apiece.

Denver was in danger of losing a second straight game at the Pepsi Center after posting the NBA’s best home record (34-7) during the regular season. The Nuggets trailed 78-59 late in the third quarter before closing the game on a 55-27 run.

The series shifts to San Antonio, where Denver hasn’t won since 2012, for Game 3 on Thursday night.

Paul Millsap added 20 points for the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic just missed his second triple-double of the series, scoring 21 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and dishing out eight assists.