Thunder's win over Trail Blazers had postseason feel

by Jenni Carlson Published: March 27, 2011

Kendrick Perkins blocked a shot, then Serge Ibaka did the same a moment later that led to a Russell Westbrook breakaway, and you thought the roof might blow clean off the Oklahoma City Arena.

But a couple minutes later, Westbrook nailed a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, a defender in his face and only seconds left, and you were pretty darn sure that you felt the whole place shake.

What a game.

What a night.

Is it time for the playoffs yet?

On a night when the Thunder clinched a spot in the NBA playoffs with a 99-90 victory against the Trail Blazers, we were reminded of just how great the postseason is. This game had all the trappings of a playoff contest. Big shots. Tough stops. Electric atmosphere.

“This is our March Madness, these last nine or 10 games,” Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said. “We're just trying to get as many wins as possible.”

Granted, these final 10 regular-season games are important for the Thunder. The only thing that Oklahoma City did with its victory over Portland is assure itself of a playoff spot. It has yet to secure that precious home-court advantage.

“Everybody's playing for that position,” Durant said. “It's so close from four to eight, maybe from three to eight. Every game is important, so they're going out there and playing their hardest.

“But that makes it fun.”

With a night as glorious and grand as Sunday was, it's difficult not to think about the fun to come.

The Thunder and the Blazers were going after each other from the very first possession. After the Thunder took the opening tip, Perkins set a bone-rattling screen that sprung Durant for an open three.

It was a sign of things to come.

Gerald Wallace hit one tough shot after another, pouring in 40 points for the Blazers.

Durant fought his shot all night but played some hard-nosed defense on Wallace when it mattered most late in the game.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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