Perkins blocked it and, ultimately, it landed in the hands of Durant, who raced the other way for a dunk that iced it.
“It’s just talking and communication,” Perkins said of that defensive possession. “You’ve got to give credit to the coaching staff. They called the play out. Russ kept pursuing. And you just never give up on the play. You especially can’t give a guy like Crawford a clean look at the basket. He’s known for hitting (game-tying shots) and game-winners.”
The Thunder might have benefited from a questionable no-call on a goaltend by Aldridge on a driving layup attempt by Durant that made it a 103-103 game with six seconds left in regulation. But even on video replay, it’s unclear whether Aldridge touched the ball before it hit the backboard.
Nevertheless, the Thunder moved to 4-1 after a loss, and is now 24-7 over the past two seasons following a defeat.
This one was as impressive as it gets.
The Blazers entered Monday night with the second best home record in the league at 11-1. Portland had won five straight home games since dropping its lone game inside the Rose Garden, a three-point loss against Orlando on Jan. 11.
In their 11 home wins, the Blazers have won by an average margin of 18.3 points, winning by 20 or more five times, by 30 or more twice and by 40 or more once.
“I think this was a great win for us,” Perkins said. “I think we can just build off of this and keep going.
“But I’m pretty satisfied with the win and how we did it. We needed one of these grind-out type of games in this type of atmosphere against a tough team like Portland.”