Posted April 12, 2013 on AP on Fox
A visit from the Oklahoma City Thunder might not present the ideal opportunity for the Portland Trail Blazers to avoid setting a club record for consecutive home losses. Mired in a nine-game overall skid, the Trail Blazers look to avoid a seventh straight home defeat and a season sweep at the hands of the Western Conference-leading Thunder on Friday night. If missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season wasn't bad enough, Portland (33-45) is in the midst of its longest overall losing stretch since dropping 11 in a row March 14-April 2, 2006. The current slide also includes a six-game skid at home to match the longest such drought in the club's history. Attempting to end both losing streaks likely won't be easy against Oklahoma City (58-21), which has won six in a row overall against the Trail Blazers and three straight at the Rose Garden. The Thunder moved one-half game ahead of San Antonio in the race for the top seed in the West with a 116-97 win at playoff-bound Golden State on Thursday. Oklahoma City has won two straight, eight of 10, and just concluded a 5-1 stretch against teams above .500 or who have already clinched a playoff spot. "Our approach was to embrace the challenge,'' Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "And I think our guys have done a good job of that.'' Now they must try to avoid a letdown against the Blazers, who fell to 0-4 on a five-game homestand after a 113-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. Though Portland totaled more than 98 points for the first time in six home contests, they allowed Kobe Bryant to score a season-high 47 and the Lakers to shoot 58.9 percent overall. Though Portland opponents have averaged 108.3 points and shot 51.7 percent in the last nine games, coach Terry Stotts was happy with his team's latest performance. "It was a very good effort by our team, but unfortunately we couldn't pull it out,'' he said. With starters Wesley Matthews (ankle), J.J. Hickson (back) and Nicolas Batum (shoulder) all dealing with injuries that could keep them sidelined again Friday, the Trail Blazers continue to rely on guard Damian Lillard. Averaging a rookie-best 19.1 points per contest, Lillard went toe-to-toe with Bryant and finished with a career-high 38 and added nine assists Wednesday. "He's spectacular ... really fantastic,'' Bryant said of the sixth overall pick. "A lot of players get hot, but he's got the moves, patience, intelligence, the balance on his jumpers. He's the real deal.'' Lillard has averaged 16.3 points but shot 38.8 percent in three games versus Oklahoma City. He was held to nine on 3-of-14 shooting in the Trail Blazers' 87-83 home loss to the Thunder on Jan. 13. Kevin Durant had 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists while Kevin Martin scored 23 off the bench as the Thunder shot 50.6 percent and outscored the Warriors 36-23 in the third quarter to pull away. Durant has totaled 52 points on 16-of-26 shooting, 22 boards and 17 assists in his last two games. He's posted two double-doubles against the Trail Blazers this season and averaged 30.3 points and shot 54.4 percent in the last three at Portland.

Kevin Durant fined by NBA for throat slash

Kevin Durant has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for making a “menacing gesture” during the Thunder’s 116-97 win in Oakland Thursday. It appears the incident happened when Durant made a throat-slash gesture following a monster dunk against the Warriors. Check it out (0:24 mark): Durant explained his celebration during last night’s postgame interviews (h/t Ben Golliver,

Kevin Durant Fined $25,000 for Making ‘Menacing Gesture’ During Thursday’s Game at Golden State (Video)

Kevin Durant‘s wallet will be a little lighter after the NBA took offense at one of the Thunder star’s post-dunk celebrations Thursday night. The league fined Durant $25,000 for making a “menacing gesture” at the Golden State bench after throwing down a fast-break dunk in a 116-97 win over the Warriors. The “gesture” didn’t seem to be anything too scandalous, but the...

Thunder Hasheem Thabeet Wants Portland Crowd to Give Him Some Head (Video)

  Does anyone else remember back when Thunder center Hasheem Thabeet went # 2 in the NBA Draft? No? Yeah, me neither. Sad to say this big an never reached the potential scouts and GMs thought he had when he entered the league. So when this is the most note-worthy thing you have ever done [...]

Damian Lillard ready to help recruit in Portland

The Portland Trail Blazers outstanding rookie (of the year), Damian Lillard, is offering his services to assist Portland in recruiting players to come play for the Trail Blazers. Lillard will look to attract the attention of free agent players that can help the Blazers take that next step. “It depends on what our team is going to need, but if I like a player that is on the market...

Durant fined by NBA for gesture

The NBA has fined Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant for making a ''menacing gesture,'' when he pretended to slice his throat after throwing down a big dunk during the Thunder's victory against the Golden State Warriors. The play that led to Durant's costly celebration occurred with about 1:45 left in the second quarter of Oklahoma City's 116-97 win at Golden...

Russell Westbrook Blocks And Kevin Durant Dunks

Teamwork at its finest: Russell Westbrook gets the big time block on Steph Curry which gets batted out to Kevin Durant who takes it coast-to-coast for the one-handed jam during the first half of Thursday night’s game against the Warriors: video via @dailythunder

Kevin Durant fined $25K for menacing gesture during Thunder vs. Warriors

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant has been fined $25,000 for “making a menacing gesture” following this play during Thursday night’s match up between OKC and the Golden State Warriors. Russell Westbrook blocked Stephen Curry’s shot from behind which lead to a one-man fastbreak from Durant whowent coast-to-coast for the dunk! Following the play, Durant made a slash throat...

Thunder Hasheem Thabeet Wants to Portland Crowd to Give Him Some Head (Video)

Thabeet would be considered a draft bust and he hasn’t done much with the Thunder. He gets garbage time minutes or time if it is a blowout, but beyond that he is just a towel waver. At first, I thought this was a flop, but upon further review, he didn’t take a pretty good shot to the jaw. Now what possessed him to make the “give me some head” gesture is anyone’s guess,...

Westbrook and Durant Team up for Nasty Block and Dunk

Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled all over the Golden State Warriors. In that game the Thunder had a great sequence of plays by their two stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Late in the 2nd quarter, Westbrook had a great block on Stephen Curry. Durant got the rebound and went coast to coast and threw down a nasty one handed dunk. Check it out below. Durant finished...

Thunder whip Warriors behind Durant

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kevin Durant had 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to help the Oklahoma City Thunder regain the Western Conference's best record with a 116-97 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. Kevin Martin scored 23 points off the bench and Russell Westbrook added 18 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who moved a half-game ahead of...

Serge Ibaka


Westbrook leads Thunder by Blazers

While Kevin Durant couldn't help but joke a bit about Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook's outburst in the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers, putting away games is all part of Oklahoma City's groundwork for the playoffs. Westbrook scored 33 points, including 17 in the third quarter, and the Thunder beat short-handed Portland 106-90 on Friday night. &...

Thunder star Durant pays visit to Giants game

Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant spent his basketball off day at the San Francisco Giants' ballpark on a spectacular Bay Area afternoon, signing autographs and meeting players. He insists he can learn from watching the best in another sport. Durant, in town to face the playoff-bound Golden State Warriors on Thursday was especially eager to watch reigning NL MVP and batting...

Who takes home this year's scoring title?

In the NBA, we are getting accustomed to hearing “Durant wins the scoring title, LeBron wins the MVP.” It is usually close, but Kevin Durant has edged out both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant to score the most points in the league each of the last three years. With a week remaining in this year’s regular season, Durant currently sits in second behind Carmelo Anthony. ...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.