OKC Thunder: Portland keeps Kevin Durant off rhythm in Trail Blazers' 103-93 victory

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: January 3, 2012
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Portland's game plan against the Thunder on Tuesday night wasn't solely to try and contain Kevin Durant.

The Trail Blazers wanted to make the two-time scoring champ and his teammates work hard at the defensive end.

Both missions were accomplished as Portland posted a convincing 103-93 victory over the Thunder before a sellout crowd of 18,203 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Seemingly banged with every step he took while on offense, Durant never got into any kind of rhythm and shot 8 for 26 from the field. He went 1 for 7 from 3-point range and got to the free-throw line just four times, where he shockingly missed half his attempts.

Durant's 19 points came on 26 shots in 42 minutes. In the second half, OKC scored just 40 points, shot 34.2 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from 3-point range.

The Trail Blazers' defensive approach on Durant was hardly unique, but their execution and effort were both superb.

"I thought we played with an attitude tonight," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We had some matchups we wanted to try and go out I thought we executed that well."

Gerald Wallace was assigned to defend Durant, with relief coming off the bench from Nicolas Batum. In addition, at least one or two teammates helped out whenever Durant tried to create.

"My thing was just to try to stay into him, make him take tough shots, take contested shots, keep a body on him," Wallace said. "You don't want him running free the whole time."

Wallace still had enough energy at the other end to register a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Batum, who frequently excels against the Thunder, had 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in 24 minutes.



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