The Thunder were finally able to slow down LaMarcus Aldridge in their fourth attempt this season, but it took a huge game from Kevin Durant, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb on the offensive end to defeat the Trailblazers in Portland 98-95.
In a game that was remarkably similar to their victory over the Miami Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder came out of the gates slowly. Portland took full advantage too as they opened up an 18-6 lead more than half way through the first term. Worrisome signs saw the Blazers hit from the outside with regularity while the Thunder started a mere 3-13 from the field. The fall of the ball and the calls seemed to favor the home team leading coach Scott Brooks and Kevin Durant to each pick up technical fouls.
The second term started a little better for the Thunder though as Derek Fisher sprung to life with a big three point basket and solid plays getting Nick Collison and Jeremy Lamb good looks with the second unit. They were able to close the gap and get back in the contest on the back of some stops and transition baskets. Portland lost Joel Freeland to injury and that changed the dynamic in the middle to the Thunders advantage. Blazers rookie CJ McCollum hit a couple of big time baskets which allowed the Blazers to keep their noses in front.
Kevin Durant came back into the game and had an immediate impact as both sides wrestled for the slimmest of advantages throughout most of the second quarter. Portland were able to close out the first half with a little more composure and got out in transition sparking a 16-4 run, leading to a 55-45 advantage in favor of the home side and the Thunder needed to look at making a few adjustments during the main break.
Not a lot changed after half time. Durant was still trying to carry the Thunder but the rest of the starting lineup were a combined 0-14 until Serge Ibaka managed to get one to fall. The long misses from Jackson and others lead to decent run outs from the Blazers who were able to turn these into baskets. For all the hot shooting from Portland and the poor shooting by the Thunder, they never trailed by more than a handful of points and still looked dangerous.
Heading into the final term, Durant had 31pts and Reggie Jackson had finally made a couple of shots (finishing with 13pts in the term) and scores were tied at 80-80.
Both teams traded baskets in a tremendous arm wrestle, but after two referee reviews, a couple of missed jumpers by Lillard and Aldridge and two made foul shots by Jackson, the Thunder had a road win, tied the season series 2-2 and went to 42-12 on the season with just one game left before the All Star break.
Kevin Durant finished the game with 36pts and 10rebs, while Reggie Jackson had 17pts, 6rebs and 5ast and Jeremy Lamb had a super efficient 19pts on 8-11 shooting including 2-2 from downtown. LaMarcus Aldridge shot just 5-22 from the floor but still had a double-double with 12pts and 12rebs but missed a game winning shot from the elbow.