Thunder 103, Trail Blazers 83

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 24, 2013
Kevin Durant had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook scored 21 points and fueled a key third-quarter spurt that helped the Oklahoma City Thunder pull away for a 103-83 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night. Serge Ibaka added 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting for Oklahoma City (52-19), which entered the game 2 1/2 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the Western Conference's top playoff spot. The Spurs played the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. Damian Lillard scored 19 points for Portland (33-37), which finished 2-3 on a five-game road trip. The Blazers fell three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot. Westbrook was called for a technical foul with 2:53 left in the third quarter. Portland's Nicolas Batum made 2-of-3 free throws to tie the game 63-63, but a steal and dunk by Westbrook started a 10-2 run that put the Thunder ahead 73-65. Westbrook assisted on a 14-foot jumper by Ibaka and capped the spurt with a three-point play. Westbrook finished with nine assists. In the fourth quarter, Portland twice pulled within five points, the last time at 88-83 on Aldridge's jumper with 6:01 left. The Trail Blazers didn't score again and finished the game shooting 40.5 percent after shooting 51.4 percent in the first half. Durant answered with a 3-pointer and after four straight futile possessions by the Trail Blazers, Ibaka hit a 14-foot jumper to give Oklahoma City its biggest lead at 95-83 with 3:19 left. Oklahoma City went on to score 15 straight points to end the game. Aldridge recorded his 35th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but fell below his 27.5-point scoring average in Portland's two previous games against Oklahoma City this season. Oklahoma City has won six straight games against Portland, the longest streak by the Thunder franchise over the Trail Blazers since the Seattle SuperSonics won six straight from Feb. 9, 1994, to Jan. 15, 1995. It's the third straight season the Thunder have taken the season series from Portland, the first time that's happened since a run from the 1995-96 to 1997-98 seasons. The Thunder scored 13 straight points during a 2 1/2-minute stretch of the first quarter to go up 19-10 and didn't trail again until J.J. Hickson capped a 6-of-9 shooting half by banking in a 16-foot jumper at the buzzer to put Portland ahead 47-45. Portland led by as many as five points in the third quarter, but consecutive pull-up jumpers by Thabo Sefolosha and Westbrook put the Thunder back ahead 60-59 at the 5:43 mark. Kevin Martin scored 11 points for Oklahoma City and Nick Collison added 10. Batum finished with 13 points for Portland, with Hickson scoring 12 and Eric Maynor adding 10. It was Maynor's first game in Oklahoma City since the Thunder traded him to Portland last month.
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