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Trail Blazers 98, Thunder 94

The SportsXchange

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 98-94 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Blazers (25-7) ended a two-game slide, and they handed Oklahoma City (25-6) its first New Year's Eve loss in six years.

With 2:34 left in the game, guard Reggie Jackson hit one of two free throws to cut the Thunder's deficit to 90-89. However, Portland guard Wesley Matthews answered with a tough layup over Thunder forward Serge Ibaka to push lead back to three.

Ibaka subsequently was fouled and split a pair of free throws to cut lead to two.

Center Robin Lopez put Portland up by four with 59 seconds left. Once again, Jackson went to the line and hit one of two, and the Blazers' lead was down to three. Oklahoma City guard Thabo Sefolosha made two foul shots, pulling the Thunder within 94-93 with 23.6 to go.

Portland guard Mo Williams was fouled and missed both attempts, but Ibaka was unable to come up with the rebound and the Blazers gained control.

This time Matthews went to the foul line and sank both attempts to give the Blazers a 96-93 advantage with 9.2 second left.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant was fouled before getting off a 3-pointer. He hit his first but missed the second free throw, got the rebound and had a chance to tie the game with a 10-foot jumper. However, it was bounced off the front of the rim, and Portland grabbed the rebound to seal the game.

Durant led all scorers with 37 points on 12-of-26 shooting. However, he was held to one point in the fourth quarter. Durant also pulled down 14 rebounds. Ibaka added 17 points, while Jackson had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Guard Damian Lillard scored 21 points and handed out 11 assists for the Blazers. Matthews added 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and forward Nicolas Batum posted 15 points.

NOTES: Portland coach Terry Stotts is not concerned that all of his starters are averaging more than 30 minutes a game. "I think the fact that all five starters have been healthy and haven't missed a game and have been able to start every game is part of that," Stotts said. "I don't think any of them are playing outrageous minutes." ... While Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks believes Damian Lillard is All-Star worthy, he isn't sure the Portland guard will make the All-Star game. "He is definitely in the category of all-star," Brooks said. "There are a lot of guards in the West. There are going to be four that are deserving but are not going to get it." ... Entering the game, Oklahoma City led the NBA in blocks at 6.3 per game. Thunder F Serge Ibaka was third in the league at 2.33 per game.

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