Since 2011, only two teams have beaten the Thunder three times in a season: Denver last year and the Clippers two seasons ago.
In the next month, Portland has a pair of chances to become the third, with the first opportunity coming on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
“We'll be ready,” Kevin Durant said. “It's a fun game, and we looking forward to playing (them) again.”
To reverse the trend and beat the Blazers, OKC has to do a far better job defending LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland's star forward who has had two of his best games of the season against the Thunder.
In an early December win in Portland, Aldridge collected 38 points and 13 rebounds on the Thunder. Then in late December, back in OKC, Aldridge put up 25 and 14. In those two games, Aldridge was an efficient 27-of-51 from the field.
“One of the best power forwards in the game,” Serge Ibaka said. “I really respect him.”
But can Ibaka and the rest of OKC's bigs figure out a better way to defend him?
BROOKS SATISFIED AT THE MIDWAY POINT
The Thunder has hit the mid-point of the season at 31-10, on pace for what would be an OKC-era franchise record 62 wins.
At Monday's practice, coach Scott Brooks was asked what had pleased him most through 41 games.
“Growth,” Brooks said. “I think our team has grown over the last few months. And as a coach, that's what you want to see.”
Specifically, Brooks pointed to his two youngest players, who are both in their first season in an NBA rotation.
“The development of Jeremy (Lamb) and Steven (Adams) have been outstanding,” Brooks said. “And those are areas that we really wanted to work on as the season started.”
Brooks, jokingly, when asked about the Kendrick Perkins' halfcourt buzzer-beating heave on Sunday night that rattled in and out: “It looked good. That was a play we worked on actually.”
DURANT NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For the third time this season, Durant has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week.
And for the league, it was an easy choice.
In four games, Durant averaged a remarkable 39.3 points, 6.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds. The Thunder went 3-1.
COX RESOLVES ISSUE WITH COMMERCIALS
Fox Sports Oklahoma's telecast of Sunday night's Sacramento Kings-Thunder game on Cox Communication was marred by commercials running into the game telecast. The problem didn't occur on the FSOK telecast carried by other providers. A Thunder official said the team was informed Monday by FSOK and Cox that the problem was a software issue, which since has been rectified.
BARTHOLOMEW HONORED BY D-LEAGUE
Tulsa 66ers forward Rodney Bartholomew was named NBA Developmental League Performer of the Week. The 6-foot-8, 235-pounder scored a combined 64 points and 32 rebounds to help previously struggling Tulsa to wins over Bakersfield (Calif.) and Los Angeles. Bartholomew was the first player in 66ers history to record 30 or more points and 15 or more rebounds in back-to-back games.
The 66ers are the affiliate of the Thunder.