Trail Blazers 111, Thunder 104

Kerry Eggers, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Forward LaMarcus Aldridge came through with a Most Valuable Player-esque performance Wednesday night, scoring 38 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the Portland Trail Blazers' 111-104 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Moda Center.
Aldridge scored 26 points in the second half as the Trail Blazers (16-3) rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat the Thunder (13-4). Portland passed the San Antonio Spurs (15-3) to secure the best record in the Western Conference.
Besides Aldridge, the Blazers' other four starters scored between 14 and 12 points. Forward Nicolas Batum and guard Damian Lillard each had 14, guard Wesley Matthews finished with 13, and center Robin Lopez scored 12.
Forward Kevin Durant scored 33 points and guard Russell Westbrook added 21 for Oklahoma City, which saw its eight-game win streak end.
Durant had 17 points and six rebounds as the Thunder got some separation late for a 59-48 halftime advantage.
Aldridge scored 16 points -- on 8-for-9 shooting, all jumpers from the perimeter -- as Portland outscored the Thunder 35-21 in the third quarter to take an 83-80 lead into the final period.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by forward Dorell Wright and Lillard gave the Blazers a 91-84 lead with 7:48 to play. Oklahoma City roared back, going ahead 96-95 on two free throws by guard Reggie Jackson with 5:03 left.
Aldridge scored baskets on four consecutive possessions to push Portland in front 105-100 with 2:20 to go, but the Thunder came back with four points in a row to cut it to 105-104 with 1:25 remaining.
Neither team scored again until Batum sank a 3-pointer with 28.4 seconds on the clock, giving the Blazers a 108-104 lead.
Oklahoma City emerged from a tight first quarter with a 27-25 lead despite 12 points from Aldridge. The Thunder extended it to 39-34, but guard Mo Williams' 3-pointer put the Blazers on top 43-42 with 4:40 left in the second quarter.
The visitors then outscored the Blazers 17-6 the rest of the half to take an 11-point edge into intermission. Aldridge went scoreless in the second quarter, and Lillard had only five first-half points.
NOTES: F Kevin Durant scored at least 20 points for the 15th time in Oklahoma City's 17 games. His run of four straight 20-point, 10-rebound games ended when he finished with seven boards. ... The matchup between two of the game's top point guards, the Thunder's Russell Westbrook (20.6 points, 5.6 assists) and the Blazers' Damian Lillard (20.6, 5.7), was worrisome to Portland coach Terry Stotts because of Westbrook's influence on the game at the defensive end. "He's one of the best," Stotts said. "With his size, his quickness, his athleticism, his toughness, he can cause a lot of problems at that position. He can pressure the ball and he's hard to go by." ... Portland ranks second in the NBA in 3-point percentage (.413) and fourth in 3-pointers made per game (9.5). "They're making 3s at an alarming rate," Oklahoma City coach Scotty Brooks said "We have to make sure we do a good job of guarding the 3-point line."

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