Late-Game Letdown Costs Thunder against Portland


Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:18 pm
By: News On 6


Originally Published: Apr 2, 2011 12:13 AM CDT

Gerald Goodridge
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

PORTLAND, Oregon -- A second-half slump from Oklahoma City gave Portland a 98-91 win over the Thunder Friday, snapping its five-game win streak. Despite the loss, Oklahoma City claims the season series 3-1 over the Trailblazers and marks just its third loss to a division opponent.

Oklahoma City led 65-57 with eight minutes left to play in the third quarter, but the offense dried up and the wheels seemed to fall off for the Thunder. Sparked by an Andre Miller 18-foot jumper, Portland rattled off 15 unanswered points to take a 72-65 lead with four minutes left to play in the quarter.

A Russell Westbrook layup ended the drought for Oklahoma City at 3:18, but that wouldn’t stop the Trailblazers’ momentum, closing the quarter and capping off a 20-5 run to take a 78-70 lead into the fourth.

Portland started the fourth quarter hot as well, with Gerald Wallace and Nicolas Batum knocking down three-pointers, with an Eric Maynor jumper in between, to take an 82-74 lead less than two minutes in.

The Thunder answered with a 9-2 run, including a three-pointer from Daequan Cook, to cut the lead to five points, but Portland was resilient late. Miller scored four consecutive points, and matched Oklahoma City nearly shot-for-shot to close the game out.

Both of Oklahoma City’s biggest stars struggled from the floor in the outing, Kevin Durant shooting 9-of-24, while Westbrook hit 5-of-15 from the floor. Despite his struggles, Durant finished with a double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 boards. Westbrook notched 16 points and six assists and James Harden scored 21, playing 33 minutes off of the bench.

Overall, the Thunder had trouble taking care of the ball, turning it over 14 times – including four from Durant.

Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 32 points and grabbed eight boards, Batum notched 19 points in his 29 minutes and both Wallace and Miller scored 13 points.

The Thunder has no time to reflect on the loss, they head to Los Angeles for a 9:30 p.m. matchup against Blake Griffin and the Clippers Saturday.