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Thunder clinches playoff berth with win over Trail Blazers

By John Rohde, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: March 27, 2011

/articleid/3552389/1/pictures/1386475">Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) and Serge Ibaka (9) celebrate a basket in front of Portland's Marcus Camby (23) and Andre Miller (24) during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trailblazers, Sunday, March 27, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) and Serge Ibaka (9) celebrate a basket in front of Portland's Marcus Camby (23) and Andre Miller (24) during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trailblazers, Sunday, March 27, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
“I’d rather take the win than take the points.”

Westbrook, who averages slightly more than one 3-point attempt per game, finished 4 for 5 from beyond the arc. Each of his three 3s in the final quarter came at crucial moments.

Asked if it was one of those times a coach is thinking, “No, no, no,” while the shot is in the air, Brooks smiled and said, “There were a few ‘no’s in there, but ‘nice shot.’”

OKC led 55-40 with 8.8 seconds left before intermission, but the Blazers had tied the score at 69 less than 10 minutes later. Portland forced three more ties, but never managed to take the lead.

After surrendering 31 points to Portland in the third quarter, the Thunder held the visitors to just 18 in the final period.

“They were very physical tonight and we like that,” Brooks said. “We have to continue to work through all the physical play and I thought we were being physical, too. They were having trouble scoring just as well as we were.”

Westbrook finished with a team-high 28 points, seven assists and two steals. Durant had 21 points and tied a career high with five blocked shots. Ibaka added 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Perkins had 10 rebounds and two blocks.

OKC also won thanks to another sizzling night at the free-throw line, converting 26 of 29 (.897).

Sunday's box score

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