The Thunder began the fourth quarter Sunday night owning a 14-point lead over the Portland Trail Blazers.Surely, the team with the best record in the Western Conference would be able to hang on at home, right? Ummm, maybe. A valid question, though. It's been a funky two weeks for OKC, losing three of its previous four games at Chesapeake Energy Arena, a place where it once boasted a 17-1 record and owned a 14-game winning streak. There was a loss to the 14-23 Cleveland Cavaliers. Then came the worst loss of the season, a 104-103 setback to the Houston Rockets with the Thunder leading by 11 with 2½ minutes left. Most recent was the 114-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, where a commendable comeback couldn't overcome the harsh reality that OKC trailed by 27 points after the first 20½ minutes. The Blazers had all the makings of being easy prey. They arrived with a newly appointed, 34-year-old interim head coach who started out eight years ago as the team's video intern. They also had just gotten rid of four players, including two starters and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. The Thunder indeed won, posting a 111-95 victory as another sellout crowd of 18,203 roared it approval. “You're looking at a team that lost their last game at home and they were fired up,” Portland guard Raymond Felton said afterward. “It happens sometimes.” The beginning of the fourth quarter did get interesting, however. The Blazers had trimmed the deficit to 84-76, and OKC was inbounding the ball underneath its basket with 1.1 seconds left on the shot clock. James Harden, who in the first quarter had injured the index finger on his left (shooting) hand, had not made a field goal all night and also had missed three of his first four free throws. As Harden launched a let-him-have-it 30-footer to beat the shot clock, the basketball gods finally smiled upon the recently Thunderstruck home team. Portland power forward Craig Smith inexplicably fouled Harden in the act of shooting. A reprieved Harden drained all three free throws to re-stabilize OKC with a double-digit lead. On a night when it nearly shot better from 3-point range (61.1 percent) than it did from the free-throw line (64.3 percent), the Thunder commendably did not allow recent events to enter its psyche. OKC (34-11) still owns a four-game lead in the Western Conference and a nine-game advantage in the Northwest Division. Sunday's victory upped the Thunder's record to 10-1 in games after a loss this season. Only Chicago is better at 10-0. Those are awfully impressive numbers for a team that's been struggling lately. “They're the best team in the West for a reason,” Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales said. Before Sunday's game even tipped off, an air of confidence still surrounded OKC. Despite being 4-4 in the last eight starts, there would be no change in game plans. “You always have to do the things you do every day,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks explained. “You can't change up things. When we win, we come back and figure out ways to get better. When we lose, we figure what we did wrong and get better. Our beliefs are the same. “Every team goes through a (tough) stretch. You don't walk through this league. The league is really good. I would love to win eight out of every 10 games … but you can't change things that are important to you.” Asked how his team would avoid a lack of confidence after its 29-7 (.806) start to the season, point guard Russell Westbrook shrugged and said: “I don't think there's a loss of confidence, we're just losing some games. It happens during a stretch every year. You just have to find a way to get out of it.” Westbrook then went out and had a game-high 28 points despite going 2 for 6 at the free-throw line, along with five assists and zero turnovers. Kevin Durant had 26 points and shot 4 for 5 from the 3-point range. He also had seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Thabo Sefolosha, in his third game back from a sore right foot, had 11 points, five rebounds and two assists in just 15 minutes. He shot 3 for 3 from 3-point range. The Thunder never trailed and led 31-15 after the first quarter. The remainder of the game was played to an 80-80 draw. Brooks correctly predicted the new-look Blazers essentially would do the same things under Canales and would simply be using different pieces. Brooks also correctly projected Portland would try to pick up the pace and force tempo rather than drain the clock. The Thunder travels to Utah for an 8 p.m. Tuesday game and then returns home for a 7 p.m. Wednesday game against the Los Angeles Clippers and former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin.