The Oklahoma City Thunder are moving closer toward the franchise’s first division title in six years. They can clinch a spot in the postseason as soon as their next game.
The Thunder will look to secure their second straight playoff berth with a win over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
Oklahoma City (47-24) has won eight of nine and 11 of 13, including a 111-103 win over Minnesota on Friday. Kevin Durant(notes) scored 23 points and Russell Westbrook(notes) added 19 while matching a season high with five steals.
It was the second time this season the Thunder had seven players score in double figures.
“Going into the playoffs, I think we’re going to need everybody,” center Kendrick Perkins(notes) said. “Every night in the playoffs, there’s a certain guy that wins a game for you, that has a big night.
“Whether it’s the first through the 10th man, everybody’s got to be ready because there’s just that one shot.”
With the victory, Oklahoma City moved within one win of clinching a spot in the postseason. It can also secure a playoff berth Sunday with losses by Houston (at Miami) and Phoenix (versus Dallas).
The Thunder have maintained a four-game lead over Denver for the Northwest Division title and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The franchise has not won a division title since Seattle won the Northwest in 2004-05.
While Oklahoma City had good performances all down its bench Friday, Westbrook and Durant led the way in both meetings with the Trail Blazers this season. The two combined for 70 points in a 110-108 win Nov. 12 and had 56 in a 107-106 overtime win Nov. 4.
Durant has averaged 30.8 points in his last five games against Portland.
This is the first of two games between the Thunder and Blazers over the next six days. The teams will meet again in Portland on Friday.
The Blazers (42-30) have won five of six and are going for their third straight victory Sunday. They rallied from 10 down in the fourth quarter to beat San Antonio 98-96 on Nicolas Batum’s(notes) buzzer-beater Friday.
“We hung in there,” coach Nate McMillan said. “We didn’t panic late. We had to make stops and make plays. We didn’t drop our heads, we continued to play.”
Andre Miller(notes), who had averaged 5.8 points while shooting 28.9 percent over the previous six games, shot 10 of 16 from the field for 21 points with eight assists. He also had one of the team’s two steals in the final 40 seconds and his ensuing layup pulled the Blazers within two points.
Miller will be looking to build off Friday’s performance as he faces a team he’s played well against. Miller is averaging 21.0 points in his last five games against the Thunder, including two double-doubles this season.
Portland continues a difficult stretch in its schedule Sunday as it opens a three-game road trip. The Blazers, who have lost their last three away from home, will also visit San Antonio and New Orleans.
They have a half-game lead on the Hornets for sixth place in the Western Conference.