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Kevin Durant scores 36 as Thunder pull out a close one against Trail Blazers

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Kevin Durant put up 36 points and added 10 rebounds to help the Oklahoma City Thunder slip by the Portland Trail Blazers, 98-95. This is the eighth win for Oklahoma City (42-12) in its last 10 games.

Durant shot 15-28 from the field (1-3 on 3-pointers) and 5-5 from the free throw line. Other key players for Oklahoma City included Jeremy Lamb with 19 points and 5 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Despite the loss, Nicolas Batum put up 18 points for Portland on 5-8 shooting (3-5 on 3-point attempts), in addition to going 5-5 from the free throw line. Damian Lillard contributed 16 points and 7 assists and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The high-powered offense of the Trail Blazers did not have its best game, struggling to score against the stingy Thunder defense that ranks first in the league with a defensive efficiency of 99.4. Despite scoring just .967 points per possession in this one, the Trail Blazers rank second in the NBA with an offensive efficiency of 108.7. Poor shooting (eFG% of 41.8%) combined with sloppy ball-handling (TO% of 17.3) proved too much to overcome for the Trail Blazers. On the season, they are 0-1 when posting an eFG% of worse than 45% while also giving the ball away on more than 17% of their possessions. The Thunder are undefeated (2-0) when coaxing their opponents into such substandard offensive showings.

This drops Portland (36-16) to 2-2 against Oklahoma City on the year.

Coming up next, the Thunder square off against the Los Angeles Lakers, who are 18-34 on the year. The Trail Blazers match up with the Los Angeles Clippers, currently 36-18 this season. The Thunder have a 1-0 record against Los Angeles this season. The Trail Blazers have a 1-0 record against Los Angeles this season.


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