Kevin Durant scores 46 points as OKC Thunder tops Portland

Thunder star tops 40 points for the fourth time in 10 games.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 21, 2014

“It was really a stupid reaction by me,” Durant said of the technical foul. “I could have hurt my team really badly. But luckily (Damian) Lillard missed the free throw, and that gave us a little bit of momentum, I guess. I was just more frustrated with myself. I can't hurt my team like that. This time it went in our direction. But next time I've got to be smarter.”

Aldridge scored a team-high 29 points with a game-high 16 rebounds to lead Portland. But the Blazers' big man, who has been a thorn to the Thunder, scored just six points in the final frame and missed his final seven shots.

Lillard, the reigning Rookie of the Year, was hounded by Thabo Sefolosha's smothering defense in the second half and scored just 14 points on 15 shots.

Jackson struggled to find his shooting touch, hitting only seven of 18 from the field, but aided Durant with 15 points. Ibaka and Derek Fisher chipped in 10 for the Thunder.

OKC overcame a slow start and an 11-2 early deficit caused by several clean looks caroming out of the cylinder. The Thunder missed seven of its first eight shots but perhaps could have taken solace in relatively good ball movement and balanced shot attempts.

But ultimately, after the missed shots mounted, Durant simply had to do his thing.

He scored 15 of the Thunder's 21 points in the opening quarter and single-handedly helped OKC stay within six at the end of the period. Durant made six of eight shots in the quarter. His teammates were 2-for-13. Jackson and Ibaka, the Thunder's two biggest scoring threats after Durant, were a combined 2-for-10.

That trend continued well into the second quarter and allowed Portland to pump its lead to as many as 11 before OKC stormed back inside the final five minutes of the first half.

The Thunder trailed 46-36 with 4:45 left in the second but closed the period on a 15-6 run. Ibaka scored six during the spurt, and Durant added five. Portland took a one-point lead into the locker room only after Lillard scored on a driving layup with two tenths of a second remaining.

Durant had 20 points at the break, the second time in three games he's had at least that many by halftime. Meanwhile, the Thunder overcame his teammates' early inefficiency and a 42.9 percent shooting clip by limiting its turnovers (two) and keeping Portland off the foul line (two attempts).

After outscoring Portland 26-23 in the third quarter, the Thunder took a 77-75 lead into the fourth quarter.

The two teams traded jabs for the first six minutes before the Blazers went ahead by five.

That's when the Thunder's defense dug in and a bad boy put the Blazers away.

“The way he was playing,” said Blazers guard Mo Williams, “he probably could have scored on Jesus.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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