Forward Kevin Durant scored 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds,
and guard Reggie Jackson sank two free throws inside the final
second as Oklahoma City gained a 98-95 victory over Portland on
Tuesday night at the Moda Center.
Guard Jeremy Lamb scored 19 points off the Oklahoma City bench, and
Jackson had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists for the
Thunder, who earned a split in the four-game series between the
After dropping the first two very competitive contests against the
Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City came from behind to win in each of the
next two matchups.
"It drains you a little bit to know you got up on them two straight
games but lost," said Portland guard Damian Lillard, who finished
with 16 points and seven assists but scored only three points in the
second half. "We had one down there, and they came back to win the
game (105-97 on Jan. 21). Same thing tonight. But we can't pout
about it. We have another tough one (Wednesday against the Los
The Trail Blazers had six players post double-figure point totals,
led by forward Nicolas Batum, who scored 18. Center Robin Lopez
collected 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Portland (36-16) fell five games behind Oklahoma City (42-12) in the
Northwest Division race.
Oklahoma City trailed by 13 points early in the game, and it was an
uphill climb most of the rest of the way.
"We competed," Thunder coach Scotty Brooks said. "That's what we're
about. We don't like to lose. We have a locker room that cares — just like Portland. We just competed, possession by possession.
That's what good teams do."
The Blazers were ahead 93-91 when Jackson scored on a layup to tie
it at 93-93 with 2:05 to play. A tip-in by Lopez made it 95-93 with
1:48 to go, but Lamb sank a 3-pointer to put Oklahoma City back in
front 96-95 with 1:37 to play.
It was still 96-95 when Lillard drove to the basket in traffic with
13 seconds remaining. No foul was called, and Lillard lost the ball
out of bounds.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Durant knocked the ball out of bounds,
and Portland gained possession with 12.3 seconds left. After a
timeout, the Blazers inbounded to Lillard, who passed to forward
LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge head-faked a defender, then missed an
open 15-footer. Oklahoma City rebounded, and Jackson made two foul
shots to push the Thunder's advantage to 98-95 with six-10ths of a
second to go.
Lillard missed a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
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"We're a resilient team," said Durant, who made 15 of 28 shots from
the field and five of five from the foul line. "We keep our heads up
through adversity, through tough times."
Aldridge — who averaged 30.7 points and 14.3 rebounds in the first
three games against the Thunder — amassed 12 points and 12 rebounds
Tuesday but made only five of 22 shots from the field. Aldridge,
defended mostly by Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins, finished
0-for-9 from the floor in the second half, scoring just two points.
"He was fantastic," Brooks said of Perkins. "He made Aldridge work
for every catch, every shot that he took."
Oklahoma City shot 48.2 percent from the field, including 7-for-14
from 3-point range. Portland shot only 37.6 percent — 7-for-23 from
beyond the arc.
"We had plenty of good looks," said Lillard, who was 5-for-15 from
the field, including 1-for-7 on 3-point attempts. "Sometimes you
just miss shots."
Lillard and guard C.J. McCollum scored 13 points apiece as Portland
seized a 55-45 lead at the half. McCollum came off the bench to make
four of five shots, including three of three from 3-point range, in
the half. The rookie finished with 15 points.
Oklahoma City got 18 first-half points from Durant and a combined 22
off the bench from Lamb (13 points on 6-for-8 shooting) and forward
Nick Collison (nine points, 4-for-4). However, the Thunder received
only five points from their other players through intermission.
Portland closed the second quarter with a 14-2 rush to take a 55-45
edge into halftime.
NOTES: Portland reserve F/C Joel Freeland went down with an apparent
right knee injury in the first quarter and did not return. An MRI
was scheduled for Wednesday. ... Trail Blazers G Mo Williams (family
issues) missed his third consecutive game. Williams was in the
locker room afterward and said he expects to play when the Blazers
face the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
... Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook, out since Christmas Day
following knee surgery, is with the Thunder on the current
three-game road trip. "He's coming along nicely, slowly integrating
himself back with us at practice," coach Scott Brooks said. "He'll
come back sometime after the All-Star break. I don't know exactly
when yet, but we're excited about where he's at." ... Thunder F
Kevin Durant averaged 38 points in the four games against Portland.
In the previous three encounters, he tallied 46, 37 and 33.
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