Kevin Durant put the team on his back on Tuesday night, catching a second wind and scoring 46 points, powering the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 105-97 comeback win over the Portland Trailblazers. It was the fourth 40-plus performance from the Durantula this month, and his eighth consecutive 30-plus game.
Serge Ibaka also had a big night for the Thunder, with 10 points, five boards and five blocks, two if which came on back-to-back plays. Reggie Jackson also stepped up and added 15 more points.
For the Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge had a strong double-double performance, putting up 29 points and grabbing 16 boards. Wesley Matthews dropped in 21 points, and Damian Lillard added 14 more. Lillard had been averaging 21.4 points again, so the Thunder defense did an excellent job stifling him on the night.
Eleven of Durant’s 46 points came in the fine three and a half minutes of the game, including some timely three-pointers. He hit 6-of-7 threes on the night and 17-of-25 field goals.
Portland led 48-40 late in the second quarter, but Durant drained a 3-pointer that incited a Thunder rally. OKC got on top with 8.3 seconds left in the first half when Thabo Sefolosha nailed a jumper, but Lillard drove down the court for a layup with 0.2 seconds left and gave the Blazers a 52-51 lead at the half.
The Thunder took control of the lead again early in the second half thanks to a jumper from Durant, but the Trail Blazers were not fazed. A three ball from Nicolas Batum and a made bucket from Aldridge put Portland up 67-62. The Trail Blazers pushed their lead to 75-66, but as they did right before the half, the Thunder closed the third quarter strong.
OKC held Portland scoreless for the last 2:35 of the third, and Durant drained another three to give OKC a 77-75 lead as the clock ran out.
Portland took a three-point lead in the fourth quarter when Durant was called for an offensive foul. Later, Kendrick Perkins was called for a foul as well, and Durant, frustrated by the calls, hit the scorer’s table and received a technical foul.
Portland made two of the three free throws and extended the lead to five points. But Durant would nor be contained: he responded with a layup, then a 3-pointer to tie it up with 2:52 left in the game.
Catching fire, Durant hit another one from behind the arc with 48 seconds left to give the Thunder a 102-95 lead, and he stepped up with 26.8 seconds left, drained yet another three, and effectively put the game out of reach for the Blazers.
It was difficult at first, but Oklahoma City has improved to 9-5 since point guard Russell Westbrook had knee surgery. They look like their old selves again and are surging through the Western Conference.
With the win, OKC advanced to 19-3 at home and 32-10 overall. They next face the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. ET.