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Durant, Westbrook lead Thunder over Blazers in OT

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thunder-blazers-durant-westbrook_0.jpg By Anne M. Perterson, AP
November 5, 2010


Portland, OR — After two straight losses—one to Utah at home and another to the Los Angeles Clippers the night before—the Oklahoma City Thunder weren’t going to give up against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Shaking off their fatigue, the Thunder overcame a double-digit second-half deficit to beat the Blazers 107-106 in overtime on Thursday night.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each had 28 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.

“We needed it a lot,” said Durant. “It’s kind of like a monkey off our back once the buzzer ended it. It’s a good win for us.”

LaMarcus Aldridge led the shorthanded Trail Blazers with 22 points and Brandon Roy had 19.

Roy missed two key jumpers at the end of regulation and the Blazers could never catch up after the Thunder pulled ahead in overtime.

James Harden gave the Thunder a 103-100 lead in the extra period with a layup and a free throw. Andre Miller missed a layup for Portland but Roy hit two free throws with 40.7 seconds left.

Durant missed a jumper from the top of the key and the Blazers couldn’t get the rebound. Nicolas Batum(notes) was forced to foul Durant, who hit two free throws with 13.7 seconds to go.

Wesley Matthews’ attempted layup rested on the edge of the rim before falling away, thwarting Portland’s chance at a three-point play. After making one free throw, Westbrook hit two foul shots for the Thunder.

Rookie Armon Johnson made a 3-pointer with .1 seconds left for Portland.

“Tough,” Matthews said.

The Thunder had struggled on Wednesday night in a 107-92 loss to the Clippers, who held Durant to 16 points. Before that, Oklahoma City was blown out 120-99 at home by Utah.

“That was a big win for us. I just liked the way we competed and stayed with it,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We got down in the first half but we just chipped away and stayed together and kept fighting and good things happened.”

There was a contingent of fans who wore SuperSonics jerseys, including one who hoisted a large sign reading “Homeless”—an obvious bitter rebuke of the Thunder franchise’s move from Seattle to Oklahoma City.

Before the game, Portland center Fabricio Oberto abruptly retired because of a prior cardiac condition that caused heart palpitations.

Oberto, in his sixth year in the NBA, was signed by the Blazers a day before the start of the season to fill in while centers Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden heal from knee surgeries. Oberto experienced dizziness in Portland’s game against Milwaukee on Tuesday.

The Blazers also announced Thursday that rookie guard Elliot Williams would have surgery to repair a dislocated right patella and would likely miss the rest of the season.

And swingman Rudy Fernandez sat out the game with back trouble. That gave the Blazers only 10 healthy players for the game.

The Thunder went on a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to take a 43-38 lead, but Portland came back to go ahead 58-51 at halftime.

Aldridge hit a jumper that put the Blazers up 68-55 in the third, their biggest lead of the game.

The Thunder closed to 81-79 on Harden’s jumper to start the final quarter, then tied it on Durant’s fadeaway.

Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka tied the game with 10.2 seconds to go, and Roy missed a long jumper—this one from just inside the arc—sending the game into overtime.

“I just think we settled. I thought there were lanes to drive and get to the basket against this team. There were a few times where we settled for the jump shot,” coach Nate McMillan said. “We shot the ball well in the first half. In the second half, we continued to rely on the jump shot as opposed to attacking, being aggressive, playing from the inside out. We played on the perimeter tonight.”

NOTES: The Blazers held a moment of silence before the game to honor Maurice Lucas, former assistant coach and forward for Portland’s 1977 NBA championship team who died Sunday of cancer at age 58. The Blazers will wear No. 20 on their uniforms this season in memory of Lucas, known as “The Enforcer” during his 12-year NBA career. … McMillan said the Blazers would look to see who is available to help at center in light of Oberto’s retirement.

•  NBA News Archive Index:
2010, 2009
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