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Blazers' Damian Lillard Says Series-Winner vs. Thunder Was 'For Seattle'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2019

PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 23: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers waves goodbye to the Oklahoma City Thunder after hitting a last second 37 foot game winner to end Game Five of the Western Conference quarterfinals during the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Moda Center on April 23, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. The Blazers won 118-115.  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. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Damian Lillard's buzzer-beating three-pointer in Game 5 of the Portland Trail Blazers' first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder was apparently for more than just his team and city.

"What can I say? That was for Seattle," Lillard said during an appearance on Sports Business Radio.

The Thunder used to play in Seattle as the SuperSonics but moved to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-09 campaign.

Any playoff loss is crushing, but Game 5 was a particularly difficult gut-punch for the Thunder. They led by double digits in the fourth quarter of Game 5 and appeared to be on the brink of forcing a Game 6 back in Oklahoma City, but Lillard and CJ McCollum spearheaded a late push to earn the comeback victory.

McCollum, Paul George and Lillard traded jump shots until the game was tied in the final 30 seconds. Lillard's buzzer-beater came after Russell Westbrook missed a short shot on the other end.

Since then, the Thunder traded George to the Los Angeles Clippers and sent Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. They now seem to be barreling toward a rebuild.

Seattle fans who remain upset about the franchise's move likely relished in the Thunder's misfortune. 

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The timing of the move was particularly cruel, as Seattle fans got to enjoy only one season of Kevin Durant. The Thunder then drafted Westbrook in 2008 and James Harden in 2009, both of whom would later go on to be named MVP.

The Thunder reached four Western Conference Finals and one NBA Finals after leaving Seattle, and the fans in the Pacific Northwest missed the opportunity to see a contender for years.

They can at least thank Lillard for his dramatic buzzer-beater that ended the Thunder's season in style.

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