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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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/articleid/3637475/1/pictures/1603019">Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) tries to steal the ball from Wesley Matthews (2) of Portland in the first half during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) tries to steal the ball from Wesley Matthews (2) of Portland in the first half during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Portland players stressed going one-on-one is no way to defend the Thunder.

"You can't guard these guys by yourself," Batum said. "That's a good team. That's a very good team."

Even Blazers not assigned to Durant were very much aware of him while playing defense.

"I thought we did great team defense on him," LaMarcus Aldridge said. "All the shots he made were tough jump shots. Every time he went to the basket he had two or three guys in from of him, which is what you have to do with him. He's a very, very good scorer. You can't let one guy try to guard him."

Aldridge displayed his inside-outside prowess and led Portland with 30 points. Guards Wesley Matthews and Raymond Felton combined for 28 points, 10, rebounds, nine assists and four steals (all from Matthews).

McMillan said his team wanted to take advantage of the fact the Thunder was on the second night of a back-to-back and coming off its first loss of the young season on Monday at Dallas.

Much like the Thunder did when it was 5-0 after the first seven days of the season, the Trail Blazers shrugged off being 4-1 heading into Thursday night's home game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

"It's 4-1. It's early," McMillan said. "It's like Nov. 10 (in an 82-game season)."


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