Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC holds off Portland

Using its length and some cranked-up intensity, the Thunder clamped down, and Oklahoma City was able to escape Rip City with an impressive 98-95 win.
by Anthony Slater Published: February 11, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder center Serge Ibaka, left, walks teammate Kevin Durant away from the referee after Durant is called for a technical foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Oklahoma City Thunder center Serge Ibaka, left, walks teammate Kevin Durant away from the referee after Durant is called for a technical foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

The Blazers, meanwhile, had some makeable looks in the closing moments. They just didn’t put them down.

Aldridge missed a 20-footer from the top of the key with two seconds left and, after a pair of Jackson free throws, Damian Lillard missed a game-tying three from the corner. A nightmare end to a nightmare night for the Portland stars.

“I just couldn’t throw a rock in a lake tonight,” Aldridge said.

Despite Durant’s aforementioned late-game struggles, he was the main reason OKC was in position to win it.

Durant finished with 36 points and 10 rebounds, making 15 of his 28 shots, but looked a bit gassed at the tail end of his 38 minutes.

Jeremy Lamb added 19 efficient points on 8-of-11 shooting off the bench.

With the win, OKC improves to 42-12 on the season, moving four games ahead of the Spurs atop the West and already owning the tiebreaker with San Antonio.

The Thunder is now 2-2 against the Blazers this season, with both of those wins coming without Westbrook in the last three weeks.

Throughout the game, there was competitive barking between the teams. And after, there seemed to be a bit of animosity brewing between the contenders who matched up four times before the All-Star break.

“We respect this team, they respect us,” Durant said postgame. “But we don’t like this team and they don’t like us. That’s point blank.”

“We don’t care to like them,” Aldridge said when told of Durant’s quote. “We’re not trying to make friends out there. We’re trying to win games.”

Too bad we won’t see these teams battle again until the playoffs.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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