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The Thunder will go only as far as Paul George can take them

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Some 50 minutes before tipoff, Paul George walked onto the floor at the Moda Center on Sunday with black tape canvasing both shoulders and picked up two basketballs. As is his pregame routine, standing on the baseline, he pounded both balls into the floor, shifting them between hands. He moved up, dribbling up to the 3-point line and back, and then flipped one to the side. He turned, looking at the basket, and took a 15-footer.

It was, apparently, the first time George had shot a basketball in five days. Prior to Game 1, the last shot he took was the game winner against the Houston Rockets on April 9. He entered Sunday’s game officially listed as questionable because of right shoulder soreness, but there was never really any question if he would play or not. He said as much after the team’s practice on Friday, noting it’s the playoffs: You play through pain.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

But he certainly wasn’t himself. After averaging 38 points a game and hitting 45.9 percent from 3 on nearly 10 attempts against the Portland Trail Blazers during the regular season, George scored 26, including just 4 of 15 from 3, in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 104-99 loss in Game 1.6

That’s the thing: George had great looks. Really, the Thunder did at large. According to Second Spectrum data, the Thunder had better quality shots by both quantified shot quality (51.8 to 49.1) and quantified shot probability (51.6 to 51.5) than Portland.

But as a team, the Thunder hit an abysmal 5 of 33 from 3, with George’s off night punctuating it. Dennis Schroder, after hitting a career-high eight 3s against the Bucks in the Thunder’s final regular-season game (OKC hit a franchise-best 23), went 0-for-7. Westbrook went 0-for-4, Jerami Grant 0-for-3.

The Thunder shot 2-for-15 (13.3 percent) on uncontested 3s in Game 1. Overall, the 15.2 percent Oklahoma City converted on of their 33 3-point attempts is the worst percentage in NBA playoff history on at least 30 attempts, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I don’t think it was really anything we did,” Damian Lillard said of the Thunder’s shooting. “That’s 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. He shot half of them, and he’s the last guy we want shooting those shots, and some of the ones he got were open and he just happened to miss ’em tonight.”

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