The Norman Transcript

National Sports

January 14, 2013

Thunder hold strong, edge Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. — Kevin Durant had 33 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped Portland’s nine-game winning streak at the Rose Garden with an 87-83 victory over the Trail Blazers on Thursday night.

Russell Westbrook added 18 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who played without starters Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha because of injuries.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 33 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who trailed by 11 points but pulled within one point with less than a minute left.

Westbrook’s 3-pointer made it 84-74 with 3:35 left but the Blazers closed to 84-80 after Nicolas Batum’s putback with 1:57 to go. Batum added a 3-pointer with 21.9 seconds left to make it 84-83.

Kendrick Perkins missed the first of two free throws and after a timeout Aldridge missed a tough fade-away jumper from about 20 feet out with 1.7 seconds left. Westbrook made a pair of foul shots for the final margin.

The Blazers extended their Rose Garden winning streak to nine after rallying for a 92-90 win over Miami on Thursday night. But Portland fell 103-97 at Golden State on Friday to stop a four-game overall winning streak.

Ibaka missed the game because of chest contusion he sustained in the third quarter of the Thunders’ 116-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. It was the first time Ibaka missed a game this season. The 6-foot-10 forward is averaging 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Ibaka was replaced by Nick Collison in Oklahoma City’s starting lineup.

Sefolosha, who was held back with a sore neck, has also started in all of the Thunder’s games this season, averaging 7.5 points and four rebounds. He was replaced by DeAndre Liggins, who made his first career start.

The Blazers trailed by eight points early, but pulled to 18-17 on Aldridge’s layup and free throw late in the first quarter. Portland couldn’t get any closer and Collison’s reverse layup midway through the second quarter gave the Thunder a 33-27 lead.

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